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Count Étienne de Beaumont

Man Rayc. 1925

Oscar Niemeyer Museum

Oscar Niemeyer Museum
Curitiba, Brazil

In Self Portrait, Man Ray tells how, at the time he still lived in a hotel, at the end of 1921, he was approached by Marquise Casati, who asked him to make her portrait. The success of such portrait was so great that it triggered a huge number of orders, which compelled Man Ray to install himself in a real studio. It is possible that Count Étienne de Beaumont, after hearing about a photographer who could work “miracles”, had the idea of inviting Man Ray to one of his balls, in order to photograph all his guests. It was probably thanks to Jean Cocteau, a friend of the Count’s since 1914, that Man Ray met one of the most important patrons of modern art, as it was he who sponsored Parade, in 1917, and The Ox on the Roof, in 1920. The Count of Beaumont’s balls were famous for their pomp, and everyone in Paris, as well as all those who dedicated themselves to the art world, met there. The best known of these were certainly the Ball of the Games (February 27th, 1922), the Ball of the Sea (1928), and the Ball of the Famous Paintings (July 1935). This portrait of Count Étienne de Beaumont by Man Ray was twice published in the British edition of Vogue. At the time, Beaumont published in the press another entirely different portrait, made by Baron Meyer, who pictured him standing, wearing a very elegant attire, highlighting his tall stature with a kind of very refined chiaroscuro. This cliché probably corresponded to the image the Count wished to create of himself, as he is depicted in all his splendor, arrogant, aloof, inaccessible. Conversely, Man Ray’s photo renders on him a simpler and more “humane” image.

Details

  • Title: Count Étienne de Beaumont
  • Creator: Man Ray
  • Date: c. 1925
  • Location: France
  • Physical Dimensions: 17.7 x 12.5
  • Rights: © Man Ray 2015 Trust
  • Medium: Vintage gelatin-silver print

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