Skip to main content

Naomi Savage papers on Man Ray, 1913-2005

Naomi Savage papers on Man Ray, 1913-2005

Savage, Naomi, 1927-2005

Photographer, Printmaker

Collection Information

Size: 1.6 linear ft.

Summary: 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Writings and notes include typescripts of unpublished pieces on Man Ray and Surrealist photography and on Juliet Man Ray, miscellaneous writings, and Naomi Savage's list of Man Ray published work.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.

Biographical/Historical Note

Photographer Naomi Siegler Savage (1927-2007) lived and worked in Princeton, N.J. Savage was the niece of surrealist artist Man Ray (1890-1976)


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

A Finding Aid to the Naomi Savage Papers on Man Ray,
in the Archives of American Art
Biographical Note
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,
published in 1963, Man Ray wrote a number of monographs and articles on photography that included
, 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.
The collection is arranged as 6 series:
Series 1: Naomi Savage Correspondence, 1939-1995 (Box 1; 0.1 linear feet)
Series 2: Man Ray Exhibition Files, 1941-1997 (Box 1, OV 4; 0.8 linear feet)
Series 3: Writings and Notes, 1974-1998 (Box 1, OV 4; 0.1 linear feet)
Series 4: Artwork, circa 1963 (Box 1; 1 folder)
Series 5: Printed Material, circa 1913-1998 (Boxes 1, 3; 0.2 linear feet)
Series 6: Photographs, 1913-1991 (Boxes 1-3; 0.4 linear feet)
The Naomi Savage papers were donated in 2007 by Lourie Savage Bates, Naomi Savage's daughter. Naomi Savage was Man Ray's niece.
Processing Information
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Joy Weiner in 2009.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

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

  • No downloads available