Naomi Savage papers on Man Ray, 1913-2005

A Finding Aid to the Naomi Savage Papers on Man Ray, 1913-2005, in the Archives of American Art, by Joy Weiner

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Biographical Information

Photographer Naomi Siegler Savage (1927-2007) lived and worked in Princeton, New Jersey. While a teenager, Savage attended a photography class taught by Berenice Abbott and pursued this interest at Bennington College in Vermont. In California, Savage apprenticed with her uncle Man Ray, who was a close friend as well as mentor to his niece.

Influenced by Man Ray's experimental techniques with film, Naomi Savage pioneered the use of the photographic metal plate which produced a three dimensional form with a metallic surface. One of her best-known photographic engravings is a magnesium mural for the Johnson Library and Museum in Austin, Texas, depicting the national elective offices held by President Johnson and the various Presidents under which he served. In later years, Savage continued to experiment with the photographic process by using digital cameras, color photocopiers, and computer imaging.

In 1952, Savage had her first exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In addition to the Museum of Modern Art, Savage's work is also in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Fogg Museum at Harvard University, the International Center of Photography in New York, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts.

Naomi Savage was married to the painter, sculptor, and architect, David Savage. Naomi Savage died in Princeton, New Jersey in 2007.

Man Ray (1890-1976) lived and worked in New York and Paris, France and was best known for his painting and photography.

Man Ray was born Emmanuel Radnitsky in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1890. His family later moved to Brooklyn, New York. During this period, the family changed their name to Ray and Emmanuel shortened his first name to Man, gradually using Man Ray as his combined single name. Man Ray attended Boys High School from 1904-1908 where he developed an interest in painting. After high school, he worked as a commercial artist and technical illustrator in New York City while attending classes at the Art Students League, Ferrer School, and National Academy of Design.

Influenced by European artists, whose Modernist works were being shown at the 1913 Armory Show and Alfred Stieglitz's "292" Gallery, and other such venues, Man Ray began to incorporate elements of Cubism in his paintings and drawings. In 1915, Man Ray met Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) and they formed a lifelong friendship and professional partnership. That same year, the Dada group, founded by a Tristan Tzara and other artists in Zurich, Switzerland also took root in New York; Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp and Francis Picabia were credited for starting the New York Dada movement.

By 1921, Man Ray moved to Paris and became part of the circle that formed the Dada group. He photographed many of the Dada poets and writers, including Louis Aragon, André Breton, and Paul Eluard. Man Ray's work for André Breton established his reputation as a portrait photographer of artists, writers, and other prominent individuals, including George Antheil, Salvador Dalí, James Joyce, Sinclair Lewis, Gertrude Stein, and Virginia Woolf. In that same period, Man Ray pioneered the photographic process of rayographs (named after him) and he also participated in the first Surrealist exhibition at the Galerie Pierre.

Man Ray moved to Los Angeles, California in 1940. There he met New York City-born Juliet Browner (1910-1991), a trained dancer and professional artists' model. They married in 1946 in a double wedding ceremony with their friends Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning. In 1951, Man Ray and Juliet Man Ray returned to live in the Montparnasse section of Paris.

In addition to an autobiography, Self-Portrait, published in 1963, Man Ray wrote a number of monographs and articles on photography that included Electricité, a portfolio of ten gravure prints of rayographs commissioned by the Paris electric company, Compagnie Parisenne de Distribution d'Electricité, 1931.

Man Ray received an honorary Master of Fine Arts degree from Freemont University, Los Angeles, 1948 and the gold medal for photography at the Venice Photo Biennale, 1962. In 1967, Man Ray received an award from the Philadelphia Arts Festival honoring its native son for his accomplishments.

Man Ray died in Paris in 1976. Juliet Man Ray survived her husband and continued to live in Paris until her death in 1991.

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Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

The Naomi Savage papers on Man Ray measure 1.6 linear feet and date from 1913-2005. The collection provides an overview of Man Ray's career as a photographer and painter through correspondence, exhibition files, writings, notes, artwork, printed material, and photographs.

Correspondence primarily consists of incoming letters from art historians, students, publishers, museums, and galleries interested in obtaining biographical information, scheduling exhibitions, or seeking permission to reproduce artwork. Correspondents include Theodora Greenbaum, Sam Hunter, and Roberta Kimmel. Also found is a letter to Man Ray from Isamu Noguchi.

Exhibition files document some of Man Ray's solo and group exhibitions held at museums and galleries in the United States and abroad, including Galerie Anderson Mayer, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Prakapas Gallery, Helen Serger, La Boetie, Inc., Ronny Van De Velde Gallery, Serpentine Gallery, Vered Gallery, and Zabriskie Gallery.

Writings and notes include typescripts of unpublished pieces on Man Ray and Surrealist photography and on Juliet Man Ray, miscellaneous writings, and Naomi Savage's list of Man Ray published work. Artwork consists of an artist's proof of a print by Paul Levitt.

Printed material houses news and periodical clippings on Man Ray and Juliet Man Ray, newsletters, reproductions of artwork, and miscellaneous printed material. Clippings provide documentation on Man Ray's early commercial photography for advertisements and fashion magazines as well as his experimental photographic work.

Photographs include portrait photographs of Man Ray and Juliet Man Ray. There are photographs of Man Ray and Juliet with family, friends, and colleagues, including photographs of Marcel Duchamp and Teeny Duchamp.

Arrangement and Series Description

The collection is arranged as 6 series:

Subjects and Names

This collection is indexed in the online catalog of the Archives of American Art under the following terms:

Subjects:

  • Duchamp, Alexina, 1906-1995
  • Duchamp, Marcel, 1887-1968--Photographs
  • Man Ray, Juliet, d. 1991
  • Ray, Man, 1890-1976

Subjects-Topical:

  • Painters--France--Paris
  • Painters--New York (State)--New York
  • Photographers--France--Paris
  • Photographers--New York (State)--New York
  • Photography
  • Surrealism

Types of Materials:

  • Photographs

Names:

  • Greenbaum, Theodora S.
  • Hunter, Sam, 1923-
  • Kimmel, Roberta
  • Noguchi, Isamu, 1904-1988
  • Ray, Man, 1890-1976
  • Savage, Naomi, 1927-2005
  • Serger, Helen
  • Galerie Anderson Mayer
  • La Boetie, Inc.
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Prakapas Gallery
  • Ronny Van de Velde (Gallery : Antwerp, Belgium)
  • Serpentine Gallery
  • Vered Gallery
  • Zabriskie Gallery

Provenance

The Naomi Savage papers were donated in 2007 by Lourie Savage Bates, Naomi Savage's daughter. Naomi Savage was Man Ray's niece.

How the Collection was Processed

The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Joy Weiner in 2009.


How to Use the Collection

Restrictions on Use

The collection is open for research. Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The Naomi Savage papers on Man Ray are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.

How to Cite this Collection

Naomi Savage papers on Man Ray, 1913-2005. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: Naomi Savage Correspondence, 1939-1995
(Box 1; 0.1 linear feet)

This series primarily contains letters from art historians, students, and others, requesting biographical information on Man Ray, from publishers seeking to reproduce images of artwork in catalogs and textbooks, and from museums and galleries planning exhibitions on Man Ray. Also included is correspondence relating to the PBS American Masters documentary, "Man Ray, Prophet of the Avant Garde."

Files contain Naomi Savage's draft versions of letters; copies of letters; scattered greeting cards and postcards; a loan request; and exhibition invitations.

This series is arranged in chronological order. Correspondence can also be found in Series 2: Exhibition Files

Box Folder
1 1 Letter to Man Ray from Isamu Noguchi, 1942
1 2 Letter from Man Ray to Florence Bluementahl, 1956
1 3 Correspondence, 1971-1979
1 4 Correspondence, 1988-1989
1 5 Correspondence, circa 1990s
1 6 Correspondence, 1990-1991
1 7 Correspondence, 1992-1993
1 8 Correspondence, 1995
1 9 Correspondence, 1996
1 10 Correspondence, 1997
1 11 Correspondence, 1998
1 12 Loose Envelopes, undated, 1939, 1982-1995

Series 2: Man Ray Exhibition Files, 1941-1997
(Box 1, OV 4; 0.8 linear feet)

This series documents several exhibitions held at galleries and museums during Man Ray's lifetime and after his death. Files include: correspondence, checklists, loan forms, condition reports, an invoice, shipping receipt, press releases, printed material, clippings, newsletters, brochures, exhibition catalogs, and photographs.

Also found are invitations and announcements for exhibitions on Man Ray and other artists, exhibition catalogs and brochure; auction catalogs, exhibition posters, miscellaneous printed material, and loose envelopes.

Files are arranged chronologically by year of exhibition. Exhibitions are also referred to in Series 1: Naomi Savage Correspondence, Series 5: Printed Material, and Series 6: Photographs.

Box Folder
1 13 Galerie Anderson Mayer - "L'Architecture Sculpture" (1963 September 26-October 15), 1963
1 14-16 Philadelphia Arts Festival (1967 May 25), 1967
(3 folders)
1 17 Helen Serger, La Boetie, Inc., "Works on Paper, 1910-1930" (1976) and "Constructivist and Other Abstractions" (1977), 1976-1979
1 18 Exhibition at Zabriskie Gallery includes printed material and newsletter, 1981-1987
1 19 Zabriskie Gallery - "Conspiratorial Laughter, A Friendship," 1995
1 20 Zabriskie Gallery - "Man Ray at Rue Ferrou," 1996
1 21 Zabriskie Gallery - "Man Ray at Rue Ferrou, 1915-1976" (1996 October 29-1997 January 4), 1996
1 22-23 Museum of Contemporary Art(MOCA) - "Perpetual Motif: The Art of Man Ray" (1989 March 19-May 29), 1989
(2 folders)
1 24-26 Philadelphia Museum of Art - "Perpetual Motif: The Art of Man Ray," 1989
(3 folders)
1 27 Prakapas Gallery, circa 1989
1 28 Vered Gallery - "Man Ray Photographs," 1993
1 29-31 Ronny Van de Velde Gallery - "Man Ray, 1890-1976" (1994 September 18-December 18), 1994-1996
(3 folders)
1 32-37 Serpentine Gallery - "Man Ray, 1890-1976" (1995 January 18-March), 1994-1995
(6 folders)
1 38 Other Exhibitions, circa 1970s-1995
(6 folders)
1 39-46 Exhibition Invitations, undated, 1941-1997
(8 folders)
1 47-48 Announcements, undated, 1965-1990
(2 folders)
1 49-50 Exhibition Catalogs and Brochure, undated, 1948, 1980-1994
(2 folders)
1 51-52 Auction Catalogs of Man Ray's Artwork, 1970-1995
(2 folders)
1 53 Miscellaneous Auction Catalogs, undated, 1991
1 54 Exhibition Posters, 1966-1981
(Oversized material housed in OV 4)
1 55 Miscellaneous Printed Material, 1970-1983
1 56 Lecture by Man Ray at the Los Angeles Museum, 1966
(Sound cassette; 90 minutes)
1 57 Loose Envelopes, undated, 1980-1990
Box
OV 4 Exhibition Posters, 1966-1981
(Oversized material from Box 1, Folder 54)

Series 3: Writings and Notes, 1974-1998
(Box 1, OV 4; 0.1 linear feet)

Writings and notes include typescripts, miscellaneous writings, a list, and scattered notes. Included is Naomi Savage's list of Man Ray's work in her personal collection that was loaned to museums and galleries for exhibition purposes.

Files are arranged in chronological order.

Box Folder
1 58 "The Kiss of Time to Light: Man Ray, Lee Miller, and Surrealist Photography" by Andrew Dickensen, 1990
1 59 "Jewel from Bronx" by Judith Young Mallin, 1991
1 60 Various Writings, 1974-1993
(Oversized material housed in OV 4)
1 61 List of Man Ray Publications Owned by Naomi Savage, circa 1998
1 62-63 Notes, circa 1998
Box
OV 4 Various Writings, Elogio Della Disperazione/In Praise of Despair, 1974
(Oversized material from Box 1, Folder 60)

Series 4: Artwork, circa 1963
(Box 1; 1 folder)

Artwork consists of an artist's proof of a print by Paul Levitt that was produced for Man Ray's autobiography, Self Portrait. The print is a sketch of a beret; below the drawing is the caption "Ray 'Burray, The Hat Makes the Man.'"

Box Folder
1 64 Print by Paul Levitt for Self Portrait by Man Ray, circa 1963
(Artist's Proof)

Series 5: Printed Material, circa 1913-1998
(Boxes 1, 3; 0.2 linear feet)

This series houses news and magazine clippings on Man Ray, including obituaries, clippings on Juliet Man Ray, newsletters, reproductions of Man Ray's artwork, and miscellaneous printed material. Brief notes are attached to some of the clippings.

The series is arranged in chronological order. Printed Material can also be found in Series 1: Naomi Savage Correspondence and Series 2: Man Ray Exhibition Files.

Box Folder
1 65 News Clippings, Obituary Notices on Man Ray, 1976
1 66-77 Clippings on Man Ray, undated, 1940s-1996
(12 folders)
1 78-79 Clippings of Photographs by Man Ray, 1923-1954
(2 folders)
1 80 Clippings on Juliet Man Ray, undated, 1989-1991
1 81 Various Clippings, 1917, circa 1940s-1995
1 82 Articles by Man Ray, 1943-1944
1 83 Walter Benjamin's German translation of Man Ray: Photographs from the Other Side by Tristan Tzara, 1940s
1 84-87 Reviews on Man Ray, undated, 1920s-1997
(4 folders, oversized material housed in Box 3)
1 88 Assorted Newsletters, 1956-1989
1 89-90 Reproductions of Man Ray's Artwork, circa 1913-1944
(2 folders, oversized material housed in Box 3)
1 91-92 Miscellaneous Printed Material, undated, 1944-1998
(2 folders, oversized material housed in Box 3)
Box
3 Reviews on Man Ray, 1950-1995
(Oversized material from Box 1, Folders 84-87)
3 Reproductions of Man Ray's Artwork, undated, 1913-1944
(Oversized material from Box 1, Folders 89-90)
3 Miscellaneous Printed Material, 1945-1998
(Oversized material from Box 1, Folders 91-92)

Series 6: Photographs, 1913-1991
(Boxes 1-3; 0.4 linear feet)

Photographs are of Man Ray, Juliet Man Ray, family, friends, and colleagues. Many of the photographs of family and friends were taken by Naomi Savage; individuals are not identified.

Scattered photographs consist of exterior shots, including Man Ray's residence in Paris, exhibition installations, and of artwork.

Photographs within the folders are arranged in chronological order. Photographs can also be found in Series 2: Exhibition Files.

Box Folder
1 93-94 Man Ray, circa 1920s-1970s,
(2 folders)
1 95 Man Ray and Juliet Man Ray, circa 1920s-1970s
1 96 Juliet Man Ray, circa 1930s-1990s
(Oversized material housed in Box 3)
1 97 Juliet Man Ray with Others, circa 1950s-1990s
(Oversized material housed in Box 3)
1 98 Gravesite of Man Ray and Juliet Man Ray, circa 1991
1 99 Marcel Duchamp, circa 1930s,
1 100-101 Family, Friends, and Colleagues, circa 1920s-1980s
(2 folders, oversized material housed in Box 3)
Box Folder
2 1 Various Sites, circa 1920s
2 2 Exhibition Installations, circa 1930s, 1979
(Oversized material housed in Box 3)
2 3-13 Artwork by Man Ray (executed circa 1915-1945), undated
(Oversized material housed in Box 3)
2 14 Miscellaneous Photographs, undated
2 15-18 Transparencies of Paintings by Man Ray (executed 1913-1963), undated
(4 folders)
Box
3 Photograph of Juliet Man Ray, circa 1990s,
(Oversized material from Box 1, Folder 96)
3 Photograph of Juliet Man Ray with Others, circa 1950s
(Oversized material from Box 1, Folder 97)
3 Photographs of Family, Friends, and Colleagues, circa 1980s
(Oversized material from Box 1, Folders 100-101)
3 Photograph of Exhibition Installation, circa 1930s
(Oversized material from Box 2, Folder 2)
3 Photographs of Artwork by Man Ray (executed circa 1920s-1944), undated
(Oversized material from Box 2, Folder 2)