The J. Paul Getty Museum

Mathematical Object, Equation, Poincare Inst., Paris.

Object Details


Mathematical Object, Equation, Poincare Inst., Paris.


Man Ray (American, 1890 - 1976)




Paris, France (Place Created)




Gelatin silver print

Object Number:



23.2 × 29.5 cm (9 1/8 × 11 5/8 in.)


© Man Ray Trust ARS-ADAGP

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Object Description

According to Man Ray, artist Max Ernst brought to his attention a group of three-dimensional models at the Institut Henri Poincaré in Paris. The forms, made of metal, wire, plaster, and wood and meant to illustrate algebraic equations, made a great impression on Man Ray, and he decided to photograph them.

"The formulas accompanying them meant nothing to me, but the forms themselves were as varied and authentic as any in nature. The fact that they were man-made were of added importance to me," wrote Man Ray of these objects, which he used as points of departure for a series of twenty paintings that he made in Los Angeles.

before 1973

Man Ray, American, 1890 - 1976, sold to Arnold Crane, before 1973.

before 1973 - 1984

Arnold Crane, American, 1932 - 2014, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1984.

A Practical Dreamer: The Photographs of Man Ray (October 27, 1998 to October 8, 2000)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), October 27, 1998 to January 17, 1999
  • Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), April 2 to June 25, 2000
  • Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), July 13 to October 8, 2000
Duchamp, Man Ray, Picabia (February 21 to September 21, 2008)
  • Tate Modern (London), February 21 to May 26, 2008
  • Museu Nacional d'Arte de Catalunya (Barcelona), June 19 to September 21, 2008
On the Look-out for Light -- Man Ray's Photography in Surrealist Paris (September 15 to December 8, 2013)
  • Max Ernst Museum Brühl des LVR (Brühl), September 15 to December 8, 2013
Dimensionism: Modern Art in the Age of Einstein (November 7, 2018 to January 6, 2020)
  • University of California, Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive (Berkeley), November 7, 2018 to February 28, 2019
  • Mead Art Museum (Amherst), March 22 to July 28, 2019

Pech, Jürgen, Achim Sommer, and Patrick Blümel. Man Ray: Fotograf Im Paris Der Surrealisten. (Brühl: Max Ernst Museum des LVR, 2013), p. 142.