Augustus John (Primary Title)

Man Ray, American, 1890 - 1976 (Artist)

Gelatin silver print
Sheet: 7 × 5 1/16 in. (17.78 × 12.86 cm)
Image: 4 3/4 × 3 13/16 in. (12.07 × 9.68 cm)

The Welsh artist Augustus John (1878–1961) was at the height of his career as a portrait painter when he visited Man Ray’s studio in 1923. The archetypal bohemian rebel sported a roguish beard, tweed suit, and wide-brimmed felt hat, and the resulting portrait captures an inebriated and slightly disheveled John that day. Slouched in a chair with an unfocused, far-off gaze, John provided Man Ray with a dynamic, off-kilter composition that caught the eye of Vanity Fair editor Frank Crowninshield, who admired the noble countenance of the drunk Welsh painter and published the portrait in the magazine’s May 1923 edition. According to Man Ray, John tore the photograph to shreds when he saw it, but thankfully, this print survives to confirm Crowninshield’s high opinion of the portrait.

Man Ray Trust stamp in gray ink on verso: "Man Ray Trust Archive/ Man Ray/ ID No:". (M48 - check Text Entry notes for stamp details)
Dated in an unidentified hand in graphite on verso: "c. 1923".
Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Endowment
Man Ray: The Paris Years, VMFA, October 30, 2021 – February 21, 2022

Some object records are not complete and do not reflect VMFA's full and current knowledge. VMFA makes routine updates as records are reviewed and enhanced.