Noire et Blanche


Gelatin silver print

20.6 × 27.5 cm (8 1/8 × 10 13/16 in.)

In an abstract frame, a woman with closed eyes, lying face down, holds an African mask with female features at her side. A set of formal echoes associates the famous beauty of Kiki de Montparnasse with the plastic beauty of an ndoma mask-portrait of the Baoulé culture in today's Ivory Coast. The print’s black and white contrasts increase the dichotomy that opposes and brings the two models together, its title points out.

Originally published in 1926 for the fashion magazine Vogue, Man Ray's iconic print reflects the enthusiasm of artists and the European public for Africa, however fantasised. The Parisian circles in which the photographer moved, starting with the Surrealists, sought to make an artistic, if not a spiritual or cultural, connection between the two worlds.

Noire et Blanche (“Black and White”) will be exhibited for the first time by the Pinault Collection during the “Au-delà de la couleur” ("Beyond Colour") show at the Couvent des Jacobins in Rennes in June 2021.