Simone Breton (Primary Title)

Man Ray, American, 1890 - 1976 (Artist)

Gelatin silver print
Mount: 12 7/8 × 10 in. (32.7 × 25.4 cm)
Sheet: 11 × 8 15/16 in. (27.94 × 22.7 cm)

Simone Breton (1897–1980) was born Simone Rachel Kahn in Iquitos, Peru. In 1899 her family moved to Paris, where she lived for the rest of her life. In June 1920, she met André Breton, the poet and future leader of the Surrealist group, in the Jardin du Luxembourg. The couple married on September 15, 1921, and Simone would play an active role in Surrealism, contributing a text to the first issue of the journal La Révolution Surréaliste, published on December 1, 1924, and regularly participating in the activities of the Bureau of Surrealist Research. By the late 1920s cracks had appeared in their marriage following André’s affair with the photographer Suzanne Muzard, which he made public in his 1928 novel Nadja, while Simone pursued her own affair with the Surrealist writer Max Morise. They separated in 1928 and divorced three years later. This portrait was made in happier times, capturing Simone Breton’s vivacious personality and wide smile in the year before Surrealism was launched.

Signed in graphite on verso: "Man Ray".
Signed and dated in graphite below image right on mount: "Man Ray Paris 1923". Inscribed in an unidentified hand in French in graphite on mount verso: "Kahn/ vous verre telle [illegible]".
Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Endowment
Man Ray: The Paris Years, VMFA, October 30, 2021 – February 21, 2022

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