Getty Acquires Man Ray Archive


The Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles has acquired two archives related to artist and photographer Man Ray. The Getty’s Man Ray holdings are already significant, comprising letters, manuscripts and more than 300 photographs, rayographs and solarized prints.

The first gift is a trove of manuscripts, correspondence, publications, photographs, ephemera and artworks gathered by Michael and Elsa Combe-Martin, longtime friends of the American-born artist and his wife, Juliet Man Ray. Michael died in 2007, Elsa in 1998. As reported in the New York Times, their estate has been selling off May Ray works privately and at auction. The Getty purchased the collection, for an undisclosed price, from Twentieth-Century Art Archives in Cambridge, England. 

Of note in the Combe-Martin cache are calendar books from the artist’s Surrealist and Dada years in Paris, in the 1920s and ’30s, when he regularly met with such luminaries as Hemingway, Picasso and Bréton. Also included are 51 vintage and modern photos by Man Ray, dating from the 1920s to the 1970s. In addition to himself and his wife, his subjects included T.S. Eliot, James Joyce, Elsa Schiaparelli, Virginia Woolf, Marcel Duchamp and Max Ernst.

The second acquisition, from a private collector, is a portfolio of eight black-and-white photographs by Italian photographer Gianfranco Baruchello. The images, dating from 1966, are of Duchamp with his iconic work The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass) at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The photos are accompanied by a diary filled with doodles, quips and Man Ray’s thoughts on the art world and Duchamp.