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Sotheby's Paris plans major Man Ray sale

A 270-lot auction announced of a collection that failed to find a buyer among leading museums

Four hundred works by Man Ray are due to go under the hammer at Sotheby's Paris on 15 November. With 270 lots encompassing various media and spanning more than 50 years of the artist's career, the auction house has billed this as the most comprehensive Man Ray sale since 1995, when Sotheby's London sold almost 600 paintings, objects and photographs from the Man Ray Trust for a combined £4m ($6.3m) sale total.

The November auction is "a unique and final opportunity for collectors to acquire rarely seen works by Man Ray from the artist's studio," according to Sotheby's website. As in 1995, the collection comes directly from the estate, which has been administered by the Long Island, New York-based family of the artist's late wife Juliet Browner since her death in 1991. According to a report published in the Wall Street Journal in 2012, the family initially offered the archive to several major institutions -- —the Centre Pompidou, the Smithsonian and the Getty— -- but the $20m asking price was deemed excessive.

At the core of the forthcoming sale are almost 200 lots of photography including Surrealist compositions and portraits, many of which were lent to the exhibition "Man Ray Portraits" at the National Portrait Gallery in London last year. Coinciding with the opening of the 27th Biennale des Antiquaires, a preview exhibition of highlights from the auction is on view at Sotheby's Paris until 15 September and during the FIAC art fair from 22 to 25 October. It will travel to Sotheby's New York galleries from 26 to 29 September.

By Hannah McGivern