Man Ray is in line for a record. In May, Christie’s will present for auction in New York the most emblematic photograph of the American artist: Le Violon d’Ingres. Estimated between 5 and 7 million dollars, it could also become the most expensive photographic work ever sold. The record holder is now Andreas Gursky and his rectilinear Rhein II, sold for 4.3 million dollars in 2011.
Taken in 1924, the black and white photograph immortalizes the naked body of a woman, her back to the lens. This back is none other than that of Alice Ernestine Prin, better known under the pseudonym of Kiki de Montparnasse, muse and companion of Man Ray for five years. On her back, the naturalized French artist designed the F-holes of a violin in India ink. The photograph was first made public in June 1924 in the review Littérature, founded by Dadaists André Breton, Louis Aragon and Philippe Soupault.
Before going under the gavel in New York, Le Violon d’Ingres will be exhibited in the Paris premises of Christie’s from March 14th to 22nd.