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Sea Shells, Galaxies, and Lampshades: Man Ray’s Spiral Obsession

The Phillips Collection Blog

Experiment Station


Wed, 4 Mar 2015

Sea Shells, Galaxies, and Lampshades: Man Ray’s Spiral Obsession

by Experiment Station
In 1919, inspired by the chance discovery of an unraveled paper lampshade in the trash, Man Ray created Lampshade, one of the earliest manifestations of his obsession with the spiral. Like many of his other objects, this work continued to exist as a concept even after the original was lost, becoming better known through photographic translations and the 1939 painting Le Retour à la raison (Return to Reason).