Dead Leaf
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© Man Ray Trust ARS-ADAGP

Man Ray
American, 1942
Gelatin silver print

9 1/2 x 7 13/16 in.

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Remarkable for its starkness, this photograph of a brittle castor bean leaf appeared with four others by Man Ray in the October 1943 issue of Minicam Photography . In his caption for the image, Man Ray wrote with uncharacteristic poignancy of the knowledge that "the dying leaf would be completely gone tomorrow." It is tempting to interpret the melancholy sentiment of the work in terms of the artist's growing discontent concerning his lack of recognition and financial success in Los Angeles and his fear that the work he left behind in France might be destroyed during the war.