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Oil painting by Man Ray titled Peinture Feminine, 1954

Man Ray
Peinture Feminine, 1954
Oil on canvas
50 x 43 3/4 inches (127 x 111.1 cm)
58 x 52 x 1 1/2 inches (147.3 x 132.1 x 3.8 cm) framed
Photo by Argenis Apolinario; © Man Ray 2015 Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY / ADAGP, Paris 2021

Historically speaking, some observers would argue that Man Ray and Picabia, the subjects of a joint show currently on view at Vito Schnabel, became important because Dada made them important. But this is not altogether true. The more accurate version is that they were brilliant artists who sought out connections with Marcel Duchamp, each on a different occasion. There is little doubt that Duchamp felt a strong connection with them on both a deeply personal and an artistic level. While interesting from a modernist point of view, however, such academic arguments are ultimately secondary to the actual work these artists produced — art for the cultural benefit of generations to come. The paintings of Man Ray and Picabia functioned parallel to the work of progressive anti-artists in Zurich, and later Paris, Cologne, and New York. But they would insist on their own independence to a degree that many at the time would never have dreamed possible.

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