Man Ray (1890-1976), 'Cela Vit (Portrait of Marcel Duchamp)', Etching & Aquatint, 1971

'Cela Vit (Portrait of Marcel Duchamp)', Etching & Aquatint, 1971

Please Note: This item is not for sale.
Signed by the artist in pencil and numbered from the edition of 125. Published in the portfolio ‘Monument à Christophe Colomb et à Marcel Duchamp’, printed and published in Paris by Georges Visat in 1971.

This striking portrait of Duchamp was reworked by Man Ray from a mixed media print he had made in 1923. The basis of the 1923 print was a photograph of Duchamp, Man Ray retouched the surface of the negative adding the rose and the words ‘Cela Vit’, the inscription ‘Man Ray 1923 Paris’ and background line work to create an experimental ‘merge’ which he would call ‘neither a painting nor a photograph’. For his 1971 version Man Ray took an example of the original 'rayograph' and had it transferred to a photosensitised copperplate. The plate was then reworked directly with etching and aquatint.


Man Ray and Duchamp had been firm friends since Duchamp emigrated to the United States in 1915, and they would remain close for the rest of their lives. Together they published the first (and only) edition of New York Dada in 1921. The cover was an image of the now infamous perfume bottle ‘Belle Haleine: eau de voilette’ with the Man Ray portrait of Duchamp as Rrose Sélavy on the label. The title of this print is a subtle play on Duchamp’s alter-ego Rrose Sélavy - which when spoken sounds like Eros c’est la vie (Eros is Life) - or as Man Ray translated the phrase - ‘Rose, Cela Vit’.

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Image Size 18.8 x 15.3 cm
Paper Size 38 x 28.2 cm
Reference 'Man Ray Opera Grafica', Luciano Anselmino, cat. no. 21

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