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Cadeau (Gift)

Man Ray, American, 1890 - 1976

Made in France, Europe

1963 (replica of lost 1921 original)

Cast iron; brass tacks

6 1/4 x 3 5/8 x 4 1/2 inches (15.9 x 9.2 x 11.4 cm)

© Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Curatorial Department:
American Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the Henry P. McIlhenny Fund in memory of Frances P. McIlhenny, 2005

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On December 13, 1921, the day of his first solo exhibition in Paris, Man Ray purchased an ordinary flat iron, a box of tacks, and a tube of glue. He glued the tacks onto the iron, titled it Cadeau, and added it to the exhibition. This iconoclastic object exemplifies Man Ray's emphasis on the juxtaposition of two completely unrelated elements in his assemblages, which he explained were "designed to amuse, annoy, bewilder, mystify, inspire reflection, but not to arouse admiration for any technical excellence usually sought or valued in objects classified as works of art."