Le Beau Temps
Man Ray, American, 1890 - 1976
Man Ray described Fair Weather as the high point of his Surrealist production. Its vignettes derive from nightmares of barren trees growing in the artist’s yard, of mythical beasts fighting on his roof, and of an affair between his maid and carpenter. Other elements—such as the pool table and the mathematics book—refer to his earlier works. The mannequin in harlequin costume may be a kind of self-portrait. Completed just before the outbreak of World War II, Fair Weather is also an anxious and ironic premonition of the impending international conflict. The bombarded stone wall and the puddle of blood are immediately legible as consequences of violence. When Man Ray departed Europe in 1940 to return to the United States, he left this painting behind. The next year he made a smaller version, fearing that the original might be destroyed.
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