Rooftops Ridgefield
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

Man Ray, known primarily for his surrealist photographs, moved to Ridgefield, New Jersey, in the fall of 1912. In his memoir he described the town’s valley and blue hills as “a continual source of inspiration for landscape work.” The twenty-three-year-old artist was deeply influenced by the 1913 Armory Show, which presented the most recent developments in European art. The minimal, planar buildings depicted here owe an obvious debt to Cézanne, whose View of the Domaine Saint-Joseph, shown at the Armory, is similar in composition and style. The difference in texture and coloration in the horizontal registers of Rooftops Ridgefield, previously thought to be signs of an inferior restoration or poor condition, is now interpreted as evidence of Ray’s reworking of the painting after seeing the Armory Show. The young artist, who quickly assimilated what he observed, soon became a leader of the avant-garde.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
2006.191
People
Man Ray, American (Philadelphia, PA 1890 - 1976 Paris, France)
Title
Rooftops Ridgefield
Classification
Paintings
Work Type
painting
Date
1913
Culture
American
Location
Level 1, Room 1300, Modern and Contemporary Art, Early Modernism
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Physical Descriptions
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
44.45 x 54.61 cm (17 1/2 x 21 1/2 in.)
framed: 58.8 x 68.7 x 4.5 cm (23 1/8 x 27 1/16 x 1 3/4 in.)
Provenance
Private Collection, by gift and sale; to Harvard University Art Museums, 2006.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Anonymous gift in memory of Elaine Siegler Taswell and gift of Dr. Ernest G. Stillman, Class of 1907, by exchange
Copyright
© Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Accession Year
2006
Object Number
2006.191
Division
Modern and Contemporary Art
Contact
am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu
Publication History

Curtis Carter and Francis M. Naumann, Man Ray in America, exh. cat., Marquette University (Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1989), p. 26, fig. 5

Francis M. Naumann, Man Ray in America: Paintings, Drawings, Sculpture, and Photographs from the New York/Ridgefield (1912-21) and Hollywood (1940-50) Years, exh. cat., Francis Naumann Fine Art (New York, New York, 2001), p. 29, fig. 11

Francis M. Naumann, Conversion to Modernism: The Early Work of Man Ray, Rutgers University Press (New Brunswick, NJ, 2003), p. 55, fig. 67

Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums Annual Report 2006-7 (Cambridge, MA, 2008), p. 20, ill.

Exhibition History

32Q: 1300 Early Modernism, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/01/2014

Subjects and Contexts

Collection Highlights

Verification Level

3 - Good. Object is well described and information is vetted