PROPERTY OF A LADY
MAN RAY (1890-1976)
signed, inscribed, dated and numbered '3/12 Man Ray 73 les amoureux' (on the bottom of the lip); with the maker's mark 'GM MR9' and stamped 'KT 18' (on the interior of the bottom lip)
Necklace diameter: 6 in. (15.3 cm.)
Lips: 3¾ in. (9.5 cm.) long
Executed in 1973 in an edition of twelve by GEM Montebello
Joan Sonnabend, Obelisk Gallery (Boston) and Sculpture to Wear (New York).
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Y.G.J.M. Joris, ed., exh. cat., Private Passion: Artists’ Jewelry of the 20th Century, Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, 2009, p. 133 (another example illustrated).
Please note this lot is the property of a private individual.
The condition of lots can vary widely and the nature of the lots sold means that they are unlikely to be in a perfect condition. Lots are sold in the condition they are in at the time of sale.
On close inspection there are few tiny spots of discoloration to the lips. There are a few fine scattered scratches and marks. The necklace is slightly bent. Subject to the foregoing, it is our opinion that the work appears to be in generally good condition.
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Inspired by the female form Man Ray designed a series of playful jewellery pieces, which reflected his surrealist leanings and his highly individual and imaginative style. One of the most striking works is Les Amoureux or The Lovers that delineates the female mouth, which appears to take inspiration from one of his most celebrated Surrealist paintings A l'Heure de l'observatoire: Les amoureux, 1936. Executed in an edition of twelve by his friend Italian Goldsmith Gem Montebello the present work has only been offered at auction once before. As a surrealist and Dadaist artist, who worked as a photographer, film director, painter and sculptor Man Ray was used to working in a number of different mediums, relishing in the opportunity to push the boundaries of art. Man Ray worked in close collaboration with Montebello, creating a series of jewellery pieces that allowed his creative incentive to run free from any aesthetic restraints of jewellery making. He only produced eight pieces of jewellery between 1970 and 1976, in editions of twelve, which often included variants. These were designed as wearable sculptures and were often created as personal gifts for friends and family.
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