A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

Startling Discovery At A Buenos Aires Museum
Monday, March 09, 2015



"I paint what cannot be photographed, that which comes from the imagination or from dreams, or from an unconscious drive. I photograph the things that I do not wish to paint, the things which already have an existence."
Man Ray

Lee Miller - Possibly (not confirmed) by Man Ray 1925

One of the most famous photographs of the 20th century is Man Ray’s Le Violon d'Ingres. It is a nude of his model friend (and mistress) Kiki of Montparnasse. Few who see the photograph know that the f-holes (that is what they are called) were painted on Kiki’s back after the fact.

Fewer know that at the time there was a rivalry between Kiki and Man Ray’s assistant (and photographer) Lee Miller. There must have been some jealousy as Miller insisted that Man Ray take this early picture of her while holding a cello. It is not known if the f-holes were painted later on  or on Miller’s back.

This image was found recently in the basement files of the Museo de Artes Plásticas Eduardo Sívori. Only a few years ago a long (and original) version of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis was located in Buenos Aires. With Argentina being the bread basket of Europe after WWI and WWII lots of art gravitated to that country. It was a rich country.

I wonder what early methods Man Ray may have used to get colour in this photograph and I wonder why so little is known of the existence of this picture.



     

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