Philatelic Musings on Art: Man Ray & His Rayograph


Guest post by Mark Haimann, MD

37-cent Rayograph stamp
© United States Postal Service. All rights reserved.

There is a super fascinating exhibit open in New York City until March 14, 2010 at The Jewish Museum, entitled “Alias Man Ray: The Art of Reinvention”.

It details how an off-beat Jewish kid named Manny Radnitzky became one of the most famous members of the Paris avant guarde between the first and second world war, as well as a prominent member of the international art community until his death in 1976. Among the many items included in the exhibit are a few rayographs similar to the one represented on the 2002 U.S. postage stamp shown above. Man Ray invented this artistic technique (modestly named after himself) where he exposed photographic film to light without using a camera....thus an excellent choice for our stamp in his honor.

The only other American who gained as much fame in the art world of Paris between the wars was Alexander Calder. Interestingly, Calder achieved his fame by remaining, as the great French artist Fernand Leger said: “Quintesentially American”, while Man Ray transformed himself into a Parisian. “Alias Man Ray: The Art of Reinvention” is a great exhibit. Take it in if you can.


About the Author
“Hi Everyone: My name is Mark Haimann and I am a lifelong philatelist and art collector. This past October I presented a public program about American artist Alexander Calder and his connections to philately at the National Postal Museum. Following the talk, I was asked if I wanted to blog for the museum about the art world and its connections to philately. How could I say no, so therefore I'm excited to present this first blog post in a continuing series entitled Philatelic Musings On Art.”