The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 27, Man Ray)

I just got finished watching Woody Allen’s latest movie “Midnight in Paris” and I loved it. In that movie there are several famous writers and artists that appear in the film. I am doing a series of posts that takes a look at this great writers and artists. There is a scene when Salvador Dali, Luis Bunuel and Man Ray all get to visit with Gil in the film “Midnight and Paris.” He tells them that he traveled through time and they all believed him!!!

File:Man Ray Salvador Dali.jpg
Size of this preview: 800 × 523 pixels Salvador Dalí and Man Ray in Paris, on June 16, 1934 making “wild eyes” for photographer Carl Van Vecht

Man Ray (August 27, 1890 – November 18, 1976), born Emmanuel Radnitzky, was an American artist who spent most of his career inParis, France. Perhaps best described simply as a modernist, he was a significant contributor to both the Dada and Surrealist movements, although his ties to each were informal. Best known in the art world for his avant-garde photography, Man Ray produced major works in a variety of media and considered himself a painter above all. He was also a renowned fashion and portrait photographer. He is noted for hisphotograms, which he renamed “rayographs” after himself.[1]

While appreciation for Man Ray’s work beyond his fashion and portrait photography was slow in coming during his lifetime, especially in his native United States, his reputation has grown steadily in the decades since.

In 1999, ARTnews magazine named him one of the 25 most influential artists of the 20th century, citing his groundbreaking photography as well as “his explorations of film, paintingsculpturecollageassemblage, and prototypes of what would eventually be called performance artand conceptual art” and saying “Man Ray offered artists in all media an example of a creative intelligence that, in its ‘pursuit of pleasure and liberty,'”—Man Ray’s stated guiding principles—”unlocked every door it came to and walked freely where it would.”[2]

[edit]Life and career

[edit]Background and early life

From the time he began attracting attention as an artist until his death more than sixty years later, Man Ray allowed little of his early life or family background to be known to the public, even refusing to acknowledge that he ever had a name other than Man Ray.[3]

Man Ray was born Emmanuel Radnitzky in South PhiladelphiaPennsylvania, USA in 1890, the eldest child of recent Russian Jewish immigrants. The family would eventually include another son and two daughters, the youngest born shortly after they settled in the Williamsburg section of BrooklynNew York, in 1897. In early 1912, the Radnitzky family changed their surname to Ray, a name selected by Man Ray’s brother, in reaction to the ethnic discrimination and anti-Semitism prevalent at that time. Emmanuel, who was called “Manny” as a nickname, changed his first name to Man at this time, and gradually began to use Man Ray as his combined single name.[3][4]

Man Ray’s father was a garment factory worker who also ran a small tailoring business out of the family home, enlisting his children from an early age. Man Ray’s mother enjoyed making the family’s clothes from her own designs and inventing patchwork items from scraps of fabric.[3] Despite Man Ray’s desire to disassociate himself from his family background, this experience left an enduring mark on his art. Tailor’s dummies, flat irons, sewing machines, needles, pins, threads, swatches of fabric, and other items related to clothing and sewing appear at every stage of his work and in almost every medium.[5] Art historians have also noted similarity in his collage and painting techniques to those used in making clothing.[4]

Mason Klein, curator of an exhibition of Man Ray’s work at the Jewish Museum entitled “Alias Man Ray: The Art of Reinvention,” suggests that Man Ray may have been “the first Jewish avant-garde artist.”[6]

[edit]First artistic endeavors

The Misunderstood (1938). Collection of the Man Ray Estate.

Man Ray displayed artistic and mechanical ability from childhood. His education at Boys’ High School from 1904 to 1908 provided him with a solid grounding in drafting and other basic art techniques. At the same time, he educated himself with frequent visits to the local art museums, where he studied the works of the Old Masters. After graduation from high school, he was offered a scholarship to study architecture but chose to pursue a career as an artist instead. However much this decision disappointed his parents’ aspirations to upward mobility and assimilation, they nevertheless rearranged the family’s modest living quarters so that Man Ray could use a room as his studio. He stayed for the next four years, working steadily toward being a professional painter, while earning money as a commercial artist and technical illustrator at severalManhattan companies.[3][4]

From the surviving examples of his work from this period, it appears he attempted mostly paintings and drawings in 19th-century styles. He was already an avid admirer of avant-garde art of the time, such as the European modernists he saw at Alfred Stieglitz‘s “291” gallery and works by the Ashcan School, but, with a few exceptions, was not yet able to integrate these new trends into his own work. The art classes he sporadically attended—including stints at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League—were of little apparent benefit to him, until he enrolled in the Ferrer School in the autumn of 1912, thus beginning a period of intense and rapid artistic development.[4]

[edit]New York

Living in New York City, influenced by what he saw at the 1913 Armory Show and in galleries showing contemporary works from Europe, Man Ray’s early paintings display facets of cubism. Upon befriending Marcel Duchamp who was interested in showing movement in static paintings, his works begin to depict movement of the figures, for example in the repetitive positions of the skirts of the dancer in The Rope Dancer Accompanies Herself with Shadows (1916).[7]

In 1915, Man Ray had his first solo show of paintings and drawings. His first proto-Dada object, an assemblage titled Self-Portrait, was exhibited the following year. He produced his first significant photographs in 1918.

A Night at Saint Jean-de- Luz (1929).
Collection of the Modern Art Museum of the City of Paris

Abandoning conventional painting, Man Ray involved himself with Dada, a radical anti-art movement, started making objects, and developed unique mechanical and photographic methods of making images. For the 1918 version of Rope Dancer he combined a spray-gun technique with a pen drawing. Again, like Duchamp, he made “readymades“—objects selected by the artist, sometimes modified and presented as art. His Gift readymade (1921) is a flatiron with metal tacks attached to the bottom, and Enigma of Isidore Ducasse is an unseen object (a sewing machine) wrapped in cloth and tied with cord. Another work from this period, Aerograph (1919), was done with airbrush on glass.[7]

In 1920 Ray helped Duchamp make his first machine and one of the earliest examples of kinetic art, the Rotary Glass Plates composed of glass plates turned by a motor. That same year Man Ray, Katherine Dreier and Duchamp founded the Société Anonyme, an itinerant collection which in effect was the first museum of modern art in the U.S.

Ray teamed up with Duchamp to publish the one issue of New York Dada in 1920. Man Ray expressed that “dada’s experimentation was no match for the wild and chaotic streets of New York, and he wrote “Dada cannot live in New York. All New York is dada, and will not tolerate a rival.”[8] Man Ray moved to Paris in 1921.

Man Ray met his first wife, the Belgian poet Adon Lacroix, in 1913 in New York. They married in 1914, separated in 1919, and were formally divorced in 1937.[9]


In July 1921, Man Ray went to live and work in Paris, France, and soon settled in the Montparnasse quarter favored by many artists. Shortly after arriving in Paris, he met and fell in love with Kiki de Montparnasse (Alice Prin), an artists’ model and celebrated character in Paris bohemian circles. Kiki was Man Ray’s companion for most of the 1920s. She became the subject of some of his most famous photographic images and starred in his experimental films. In 1929 he began a love affair with the Surrealist photographer Lee Miller.

Salvador Dalí and Man Ray in Paris, on June 16, 1934 making “wild eyes” for photographer Carl Van Vechten

For the next 20 years in Montparnasse, Man Ray made his mark on the art ofphotography. Significant members of the art world, such as James JoyceGertrude SteinJean CocteauBridget Bate Tichenor,[10] and Antonin Artaud posed for his camera.

With Jean ArpMax ErnstAndré MassonJoan Miró, and Pablo Picasso, Man Ray was represented in the first Surrealistexhibition at the Galerie Pierre in Paris in 1925. Works from this period include a metronome with an eye, originally titled Object to Be Destroyed. Another important work from this part of Man Ray’s life is the Violon d’Ingres,[11] a stunning photograph of Kiki de Montparnasse,[12] styled after the painter/musician, Ingres. This work is a popular example of how Man Ray could juxtapose disparate elements in his photography in order to generate meaning.[13]

In 1934, surrealist artist Méret Oppenheim, known for her fur-covered teacup, posed nude for Man Ray in what became a well-known series of photographs depicting her standing next to a printing press.

Together with Lee Miller, who was his photography assistant and lover, Man Ray reinvented the photographic technique ofsolarization. He also created a technique using photograms he called rayographs, which he described as “pure dadaism”.

Man Ray directed a number of influential avant-garde short films, known as Cinéma Pur, such as Le Retour à la Raison (2 mins, 1923); Emak-Bakia (16 mins, 1926); L’Étoile de Mer (15 mins, 1928); and Les Mystères du Château de Dé (27 mins, 1929). Man Ray also assisted Marcel Duchamp with the cinematography of his film Anemic Cinema (1926), and personally manned the camera on Fernand Léger‘s Ballet Mécanique (1924). Man Ray also appeared in René Clair‘s film Entr’acte(1924), in a brief scene playing chess with Duchamp.

Duchamp, Man Ray, and Francis Picabia were friends as well as collaborators, connected by their experimental, entertaining, and innovative art.[14][15]

[edit]Later life

Man Ray portrayed by Lothar Wolleh, Paris, 1975

Later in life, Man Ray returned to the United States, having been forced to leave Paris due to the dislocations of the Second World War. He lived in Los Angeles, California from 1940 until 1951. A few days after arriving in Los Angeles, Man Ray met Juliet Browner, a first generation American of Rumanian-Jewish lineage; a trained dancer and experienced artists’ model.[16] They began living together almost immediately, and married in 1946 in a double wedding with their friends Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning. However, he called Montparnasse home and he returned there.

In 1963 he published his autobiography, Self-Portrait, which was republished in 1999 (ISBN 0-8212-2474-3).

He died in Paris on November 18, 1976 of a lung infection, and was interred in the Cimetière du Montparnasse, Paris. His epitaph reads:unconcerned, but not indifferent. When Juliet Browner died in 1991, she was interred in the same tomb. Her epitaph reads, together again. Juliet set up a trust for his work and made many donations of his work to museums.


[edit]By Man Ray

  • “It has never been my object to record my dreams, just the determination to realize them.” (Julien Levy exhibition catalog, April 1945.)
  • “There is no progress in art, any more than there is progress in making love. There are simply different ways of doing it.” (1948 essay, “To Be Continued, Unnoticed”.)
  • “To create is divine, to reproduce is human.” (“Originals Graphic Multiples”, circa 1968; published in Objets de Mon Affection, 1983.)
  • “I paint what cannot be photographed, that which comes from the imagination or from dreams, or from an unconscious drive. I photograph the things that I do not wish to paint, the things which already have an existence.” (Undated interview, circa 1970s; published in Man Ray: Photographer, 1981.)
  • “I have been accused of being a joker. But the most successful art to me involves humor.” (Undated interview, circa 1970s; published in Man Ray: Photographer, 1981.)
  • “An original is a creation motivated by desire. Any reproduction of an originals motivated by necessity. It is marvelous that we are the only species that creates gratuitous forms. To create is divine, to reproduce is human.”
  • “Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask ‘how’, while others of a more curious nature will ask ‘why’. Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information.”
  • “I do not photograph nature. I photograph my visions.” [8]

[edit]About Man Ray

  • “MAN RAY, n.m. synon. de Joie jouer jouir.” (Translation: “MAN RAY, masculine noun, synonymous with joy, to play, to enjoy.”) — Marcel Duchamp, as the opening epigram for Man Ray’s memoir Self-Portrait, 1963.
  • “With him you could try anything—there was nothing you were told not to do, except spill the chemicals. With Man Ray, you were free to do what your imagination conjured, and that kind of encouragement was wonderful.” — Artist and photographer, Naomi Savage, Man Ray’s niece and protégée, in a 2000 newspaper interview.
  • “Man Ray is a youthful alchemist forever in quest of the painter’s philosopher’s stone. May he never find it, as that would bring an end to his experimentations which are the very condition of living art expression.” — Adolf Wolff, “Art Notes”, International 8, no. 1 (January 1914), p. 21.
  • “[Man Ray was] a kind of short man who looked a little like Mr. Peepers, spoke slowly with a slight Brooklynese accent, and talked so you could never tell when he was kidding.” — Brother-in-law Joseph Browner on his first impression of the artist; quoted in the Fresno Bee, August 26, 1990.

[edit]Selected books by Man Ray

  • Man Ray and Tristan Tzara (1922). Champs délicieux: album de photographies. Paris: [Société générale d’imprimerie et d’édition].
  • Man Ray (1926). Revolving doors, 1916-1917: 10 planches. Paris: Éditions Surrealistes.
  • Man Ray (1934). Man Ray: photographs, 1920–1934, Paris. Hartford, CT: James Thrall Soby.
  • Éluard, Paul, and Man Ray (1935). Facile. Paris: Éditions G.L.M.
  • Man Ray and André Breton (1937). La photographie n’est pas l’art. Paris: Éditions G.L.M.
  • Man Ray and Paul Éluard (1937). Les mains libres: dessins. Paris: Éditions Jeanne Bucher.
  • Man Ray (1948). Alphabet for adults. Beverly Hills, CA: Copley Galleries.
  • Man Ray (1963). Self portrait. London: Andre Deutsch.
  • Man Ray and L. Fritz Gruber (1963). Portraits. Gütersloh, Germany: Sigbert Mohn Verlag.


File:Man Ray by Wolleh.jpg

Man Ray portrayed by Lothar Wolleh, Paris, 1975


A Christian Manifesto Francis Schaeffer

Published on Dec 18, 2012

A video important to today. The man was very wise in the ways of God. And of government. Hope you enjoy a good solis teaching from the past. The truth never gets old.

The Roots of the Emergent Church by Francis Schaeffer

How Should We then Live Episode 7 small (Age of Nonreason)

#02 How Should We Then Live? (Promo Clip) Dr. Francis Schaeffer

10 Worldview and Truth

Two Minute Warning: How Then Should We Live?: Francis Schaeffer at 100

Francis Schaeffer Whatever Happened to the Human Race (Episode 1) ABORTION

Francis Schaeffer “BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY” Whatever…HTTHR


The above clip is from the film series by Francis Schaeffer “How should we then live?” Below is an outline of the 8th episode on the Impressionists and the age of Fragmentation. Attention is also given to Surrealism which is what Man Ray was involved in. Also he spent a lot of time working with Marcel Duchamp and Dali who are also mentioned in this film series. 


I. Art As a Vehicle Of Modern Thought

A. Impressionism (Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Sisley, Degas) and Post-Impressionism (Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat): appearance and reality.

1. Problem of reality in Impressionism: no universal.

2. Post-Impression seeks the universal behind appearances.

3. Painting expresses an idea in its own terms as a work of art; to discuss the idea in a painting is not to intellectualize art.

4. Parallel search for universal in art and philosophy; Cézanne.

B. Fragmentation.

1. Extremes of ultra-naturalism or abstraction: Wassily Kandinsky.

2. Picasso leads choice for abstraction: relevance of this choice.

3. Failure of Picasso (like Sartre, and for similar reasons) to be fully consistent with his choice.

C. Retreat to absurdity.

1. Dada , and Marcel Duchamp: art as absurd. (Dada gave birth to Surrealism).

2. Art followed philosophy but came sooner to logical end.

3. Chance in his art technique as an art theory impossible to practice: Pollock.

II. Music As a Vehicle of Modern Thought

A. Non-resolution and fragmentation: German and French streams.

1. Influence of Beethoven’s last Quartets.

2. Direction and influence of Debussy.

3. Schoenberg’s non-resolution; contrast with Bach.

4. Stockhausen: electronic music and concern with the element of change.

B. Cage: a case study in confusion.

1. Deliberate chance and confusion in Cage’s music.

2. Cage’s inability to live the philosophy of his music.

C. Contrast of music-by-chance and the world around us.

1. Inconsistency of indulging in expression of chaos when we acknowledge order for practical matters like airplane design.

2. Art as anti-art when it is mere intellectual statement, divorced from reality of who people are and the fullness of what the universe is.

III. General Culture As the Vehicle of Modern Thought

A. Propagation of idea of fragmentation in literature.

1. Effect of Eliot’s Wasteland and Picasso’s Demoiselles d’ Avignon

compared; the drift of general culture.

2. Eliot’s change in his form of writing when he became a Christian.

3. Philosophic popularization by novel: Sartre, Camus, de Beauvoir.

B. Cinema as advanced medium of philosophy.

1. Cinema in the 1960s used to express Man’s destruction: e.g. Blow-up.

2. Cinema and the leap into fantasy:


The Hour of the WolfBelle de JourJuliet of the Spirits,

The Last Year at Marienbad.

3. Bergman’s inability to live out his philosophy (see Cage):

Silence and The Hour of the Wolf.

IV. Only on Christian Base Can Reality Be Faced Squarely

Well, Mr. Allen, it would appear you still have the ability to surprise and delight me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed plenty of your recent movies, particularly the ones with Scarlett Johansson. And it’s not just because I love Scarlett Johansson–though I suspect we have some very similar thoughts on the lady (and not just the obvious ones that most people think; my readers can be so bourgeois!) You’ve had several very good films in the last six years, and a few merely okay ones. Even the good ones, though, are what they are. They hit a certain predictable level, they never took me unaware. Not like Midnight in Paris.

Now, granted, I maybe walked into those movies armed with a little more foreknowledge as to their plot. How I managed to avoid learning what Midnight in Paris was really about is beyond me, particularly given my affinity for some of the details you include in your love letter to the legendary city. I knew it starred Owen Wilson as a man engaged to Rachel McAdams, and that Wilson’s character, Gil Pender, was more romanced by Paris than his fiancée. I also picked up that Michael Sheen represented a kind of threat to this young couple, that he was, shall we say, more intellectual and sophisticated, than his neurotic rival. At the same time, Gil’s head would be turned by more than architecture, and likely, the whole thing would be a criss-crossing examination of commitment and dreams and the reasons couples go together in the first place.

Again, this is Woody Allen territory. No surprise there. You can get that from just a cursory glace at the trailer. Sharp viewers might even be able to figure it out from the poster. That poster also promotes the fact that Adrien Brody, Kathy Bates, and Marion Cotillard are in the film, and had I been pushed to guess, honestly, Marion Cotillard would have to be Owen Wilson’s temptation (and I’d have been right). The funny thing is, those three aren’t in the first fifteen or twenty minutes of Midnight in Paris, which is exactly how long my uninformed impressions of the film held true.

And then…whammo! Here comes the curveball.

I feel like I should say “spoiler alert” here, but that seems kind of silly since I am faking a conversation with the guy who wrote and directed Midnight in Paris, to whom none of what I am about to say should be a surprise. I also have a feeling that later trailers must have given this stuff away. I mean, how long did you keep it a secret that Jeff Daniels steps out of the movie screen in Purple Rose of Cairo? That’s what the movie is about! And given how similar the flights of fancy are between your older movie and this new one, and how this fictional conceit ends up informing the life of the character to whom it happens, comparisons between Purple Rose of Cairo and Midnight in Paris are inevitable. That should be on the poster. “From Woody Allen, the man who brought you Purple Rose of Cairo.”

Regardless, SPOILER!

As it goes, I’m just sitting there watching Owen Wilson be sad because Rachel McAdams wants to hang out with annoying people and fails to see the magic in the rich creative history of Paris–or, for that matter, the creative present of her husband-to-be. Gil is a writer who has wasted his talent on cheap Hollywood screenplays and is now trying to complete his first novel. It’s a book about a man who runs a “nostalgia shop,” named Out of the Past, presumably after the old Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer movie, because that’s just what a guy who sells memorabilia from eras long gone would do. Obviously Gil’s protagonist is just an analogue for Gil, a man who believes he was born in the wrong time, who longs for an idealized past, which is exactly what Gil is thinking about when a classic Peugeot turns the corner and stops in front of him. The people in the car motion Gil over, convince him to jump in, give him champagne, and take him to a party.

And, oh, what a party it is! Cole Porter music, conversation about the work of F. Scott Fitzgerald, the works. The catch is, that’s really Cole Porter at the piano, and that’s really Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston and Alison Pill) that Gil is talking to. He has been transported back in time! The rest of the movie is Gil taking full advantage of whatever temporal anomaly he has stumbled into. At midnight, he climbs into the car and goes back in time to meet his idols; in the morning, he returns to his disappointing present. In between, Gil must sort out what is happening to him, relating it to the themes that he is exploring in his novel, and then relating that further to what it means to him as a person. It’s a scenario too good to be true, every one of his literary and artistic heroes turns out to be exactly as he expected them to be–but then, this is his fantasy, isn’t it? You wouldn’t travel back in time to meet Muhammad Ali just to sit on the couch and watch him eat potato chips. You’d want him to talk in rhyme and shadow box right in front of you! Likewise, you’d want Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll for Law & Order: Los Angeles) to talk in clipped prose about bullfighters and give you writing tips.

I mean, that’s what I’d want, Mr. Allen, and that’s what you deliver. Midnight in Paris is a delightful, witty movie. It even gets poignant in its final scenes. Owen Wilson is surprisingly good playing the motormouthed stand-in for yourself, and all of your supporting actors are so perfectly cast. They latch onto these bygone personalities and refuse to let go. All the performers are clearly having fun. Alison Pill is absolutely train-wreck charming as Zelda Fitzgerald–though, the implications of Gil giving her valium are a little weird–and Corey Stoll attacks the Hemingway material like an unstoppable elephant. Maybe the most fun, though, is Adrien Brody, who only has one full scene, but he pretty much steals the whole movie. “Dali!”

Marion Cotillard is also extremely charming and she is easy to buy in the role of the ineffable muse. If I had one complaint, it’s that I wish there had been just a tad more romance here. The scenes with her and Wilson play it safe, and we never get to see her be the volcano she is once described as being. There is no agony in the choice Gil must make, it’s pretty obvious how it’s going to go–that’s the lesson he must learn, after all–and if you learned anything from the writers you are portraying, it’s that the drama comes out of the choice being too difficult. Rachel McAdams is adorable, but let’s be honest, the character she plays is rotten, start to finish.

It’s not enough of a complaint to have ruined the warm glow I had after watching Midnight in Paris. I just don’t want to overdo and pretend it’s a perfect movie–even if it is perfectly wonderful to watch. Like the myths of the city it depicts, Midnight in Paris is its own inscrutable thing. It couldn’t happen anywhere else, and it could happen with anyone but you, Mr. Allen. My hat is doffed in your direction.

Jamie S. Rich is a novelist and comic book writer. He is best known for his collaborations with Joëlle Jones, including the hardboiled crime comic book You Have Killed Me, the challenging romance 12 Reasons Why I Love Her, and the 2007 prose novel Have You Seen the Horizon Lately?, for which Jones did the cover. All three were published by Oni Press. His most recent project is the comedy series Spell Checkers, again with Jones and artist Nicolas Hitori de. Follow Rich’s blog at

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