Fire Escape and Umbrellas

Object Details


Fire Escape and Umbrellas


Man Ray (American, 1890 - 1976)






Cliché verre


17.5 × 12.2 cm (6 7/8 × 4 13/16 in.)


© Man Ray Trust ARS-ADAGP

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This picture was made using the cliché verre (glass negative) process, which involves scratching a design into a layer of emulsion or pigment on glass, then using the plate as a negative to make photographic prints. Man Ray first worked with the technique in 1917 and returned to it on at least two later occasions, publishing the results in such journals as Aventureand Der Sturm. Artists of the French Barbizon school in the late 1800s used the technique as a method of printmaking.

This image may look like a sketch, but it is actually a photographic print made with such a negative. In these pictures, Man Ray challenged the uniqueness of a drawing by making it reproducible while also playing with the definition of photography by sketching the subject on a negative rather than using a camera.

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

Milwaukee Art Center. Man Ray Photographics, from the collection of Arnold H. Crane; introduction by Arnold Crane (Milwaukee, 1973), (JPGM print).

Ware, Katherine. A Practical Dreamer: The Photographs of Man Ray, exh. brochure (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 1998/1999), fig. 1.