Kay Boyle (Primary Title)

Man Ray, American, 1890 - 1976 (Artist)

Gelatin silver print
Sheet: 6 15/16 × 4 3/8 in. (17.62 × 11.11 cm)

The American novelist, poet, short story writer, and civil rights activist Kay Boyle (1902-1992) moved to France in 1923 after marrying a French exchange student. Although the marriage ended two year later, Boyle decided to stay in Paris and pursue a career as a writer. By 1934, when Man Ray made this portrait of a self-assured Boyle wearing a beret and cradling her chin in her hand, she had published her first work of fiction, Short Stories, with Black Sun Press. During World War II, Boyle returned to the United States, and in the following decades she championed civil rights and worked for the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), while also protesting the Vietnam War and campaigning to ban nuclear weapons. This activism led to the blacklisting of her writings during the McCarthy era. She received a full pardon in 1957, which allowed her to teach creative writing, most notably at San Francisco State College, where she taught from 1963 to 1979.

Photographer's studio stamp in black ink on print verso: "Man Ray/ 31^bis, Rue/ Campagne/ Premiere/ Paris XIV^e".
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.