Dreams of Desire 31 (Solarization)

Primat de la matiere sur la pensee-Man Ray 1929

Man Ray perfected the technique of solarization which was discovered by his assistant, model, lover and brilliant photographer Lee Miller when she accidentally opened the door to the darkroom and let in the light.

The 1929 photograph Primat de la matiere sur la pensee (The primacy of matter over thought) of the Swiss artist Meret Oppenheim is a striking ethereal image and was later reproduced in La Surrealisme au service de la revolution in 1931.


60 thoughts on “Dreams of Desire 31 (Solarization)

    1. well I love my surrealists, I have shelves of books on them and I am always on the look out for more information. This photograph was recently auctioned for 145,00 dollars by Christies, I think. Oh dear it doesn’t look I will have a Man Ray hanging up in my living room any time soon.

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      1. Phew! That’s a lot! As it happens, when I traveled to NY this April, I stumbled upon Christie’s Auction House having no clue it was right across from Rockefeller and NBC Studios. I can only imagine the money that’s changed hands there in all these years.

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      2. Very good question. I’m sure it varies, but the amount of money, at least in NY…is staggering. I also accidentally walked down Park Avenue and it’s quite the experience, a different world entirely. The only solace in my moving experience right now is that I’m not paying NYC rent. $3500 for a 1 bedroom apartment in a so-so area of NY is going rate. Scary.

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      3. It’s happening in Seattle, too. With Amazon headquarters here exploding the influx of workers, real estate has been eaten up by transplants, paid with cash by investors, pushing out the middle class. We are the fastest growing city in the country, last I read.

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  1. Amazing photo of Meret Oppenheim by Man Ray, it looks rather as though she is in the process of melting. The technique of solarization is fascinating. Often I wonder how many photos attributed to Man Ray were in fact taken by Lee Miller. Wonderful post Mr. Cake. ~ Miss Cranes

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      1. A pivotal point in history… The reconquista, the creation of the first modern nation state, the expulsion of the Jews, the discovery of the new world, Ferdinand and Isabella, the beginning of the inquisition. The impact of the Jewish mystical tradition on the Renaissance, the great hermetic philosophers Agrippa, Trithemus, Mirandella and Bruno and John Dee

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      2. Thank you for a lovely reply. I recall your interest in the occult, alchemy, numerology, and theosophy. I hope I remembered correctly. You must read everything you can get your hands on. Again, very impressive.

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      3. Who wrote the oration on the dignity of man which was a landmark in the humanist tradition wrote a series of cabbalastic treaties and was one of the first non Jewish scholars with a knowledge of Hebrew. He was also a serious and committed magician

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  2. I apologize in advance for this observation (gulp) because its a really amazing photo, but my first thought was that it looked like she was melting into a baked potato. (cringe) One of those quick first impressions… But seriously, its a fabulous effect, so liquid. And a beautiful subject, of course. I am so happy you are proceeding with this series.

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      1. Well I am always looking for material in relation to the main surrealist publications as they were important vehicles for the movement. I mentioned in an earlier comment that this recently sold for 145,000 dollars. Man Ray photos are up there in the price aspect, though no where as near as high as Cindy Sherman who work in my opinion is quite derivative of the surrealist, especially Claude Cahun. No accounting for taste (though surely that is the purpose of the art market, an accounting). Sorry rambling.

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