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La Volière [Aviary] 1919

Not on display

'Aviary' depicts the artist's New York studio, complete with a dressmaker's dummy, which Man Ray said he kept for a companion. A chair can also be seen in the blue area to the left of the dummy. Man Ray began making airbrush paintings around 1916, inspired by the paint spray he had been using to make mechanical drawings for a publisher. The airbrush was a way of liberating himself from conventional ways of making pictures; he liked the fact that he was able to paint without even touching the page. The French title, 'La Volière', as well as meaning 'aviary', is also slang for a brothel.

Glossary Open


A painting tool that uses compressed air to project a fine spray of paint. It was first used by commercial artists but was adopted by Pop artists in the 20th century. It is also used for retouching photographs.



  • Acc. No. GMA 3888
  • Medium Airbrushed gouache, pencil, pen and ink on cardboard
  • Size 70.00 x 55.00 cm
  • Credit Purchased with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Art Fund 1995