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Standard
  
  
Man Ray 
Berbette dressing 
1926 
  
Gelatin silver print 
Metropolitan Museum of Art 
 
LL/64704 
  
Curatorial description
This photograph is a backstage portrait of Barbette, a notorious and popular female impersonator, high-wire entertainer, and trapeze artist. It belongs to a series that Man Ray made on commission for Surrealist author Jean Cocteau, who championed Barbette as a consummate performer. Barbette’s heavily made-up face, wig, and muscular torso suggest a provocative conflation of differently gendered attributes. The harness secured around his waist hints at the daring and athletic spectacle of his show. 
 

 
  
 
  
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