Le Violon d'Ingres (Ingres's Violin)

Object Details


Le Violon d'Ingres (Ingres's Violin)


Man Ray (American, 1890 - 1976)




Paris, France (Place created)




Gelatin silver print


29.6 x 22.7 cm (11 5/8 x 8 15/16 in.)


© Man Ray Trust ARS-ADAGP

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Man Ray was an admirer of the paintings of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and made a series of photographs, inspired by Ingres's languorous nudes, of the model Kiki in a turban. Painting the f-holes of a stringed instrument onto the photographic print and then rephotographing the print, Man Ray altered what was originally a classical nude. He also added the title Le Violon d'Ingres, a French idiom that means "hobby." The transformation of Kiki's body into a musical instrument with the crude addition of a few brushstrokes makes this a humorous image, but her armless form is also disturbing to contemplate. The title seems to suggest that, while playing the violin was Ingres's hobby, toying with Kiki was a pastime of Man Ray. The picture maintains a tension between objectification and appreciation of the female form.

Rare States and Unusual Subjects: Photographs by Paul Strand, Andre Kertesz, and Man Ray (July 7 to September 6, 1987)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), July 7 to September 6, 1987
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
Photographers of Genius (March 16 to July 25, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 16 to July 25, 2004
In Focus: The Nude (October 9, 2007 to February 24, 2008)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), October 9, 2007 to February 24, 2008
Shared Intelligence: American Painting and the Photograph (February 4, 2011 to January 8, 2012)
  • Columbus Museum of Art, (Columbus), February 4 to April 24, 2011
  • The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, (Santa Fe), May 20 to September 11, 2011