1946 Dr. George Hill Hodel Portrait by Man Ray Gifted to Harvard's Fogg Art Museum

(Below information originally reported by me in my FAQ 45) 

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 A signed/original Man Ray portrait photograph of Dr. George Hodel, taken more than sixty-years ago, has recently been identified. (May 2007)


The Hodel photograph, a Gelatin silver print measuring 35.4cm x 27.3 cm, a gift from Susan and Neal Yanofsky, was originally donated to the prestigious museum in 2001.


At the time it was gifted to Harvard, the identity of George Hodel was either withheld or unknown, and the museum curators catalogued the Man Ray rare silver print simply as:


 Unidentified (portrait of man in front of Chinese wall Hanging)”


Since last month’s identification of the portrait, Fogg Art Museum curators have now renamed the photograph:


Dr. George Hill Hodel (1907-1999)


(See below Fogg Art Museum catalogue photographs)



I contacted the art museum in an effort to obtain additional information on the provenance (ownership history) of my father’s photograph and received the following information in response:


Our print originated on the West Coast in an (unknown) private collection. The transfer to our donor was mediated by a broker. It came to the Fogg in 2001, but I don’t know when it left the private collection, although presumably around the same time.


The signature in the lower left hand corner is in black ink. There are no other inscriptions.


I will post additional information on this fascinating discovery when it becomes known and available.


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The Fogg Art Museum, which opened to the public in 1895, is Harvard’s oldest art museum. Around its Italian Renaissance courtyard, based on a sixteenth-century façade in Montepulciano, Italy, are galleries illustrating the history of Western art from the Middle Ages to the present, with particular strengths in Italian early Renaissance, British pre-Raphaelite, and nineteenth-century French art.

The Wertheim Collection, housed on the second floor of the Fogg, is one of America‘s finest collections of Impressionist and post-Impressionist work, and contains many famous masterworks. The Boston area’s most important collection of Picasso’s work is also found at the Fogg, as well as outstanding collections of photographs, prints, and drawings.


Any reader fluent in Chinese that can translate below characters it would be much appreciated:

Email translation to: Steve@stevehodel.com




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  1. d. Ruschhaupt on April 4, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    I showed the chinese characters to a friend of a friend and they quickly said the two large ones were “army” and (i guess below) “sweat” or “hardship” they didn’t bother much with the small ones (a name?) also I wanted to ask if you have read Sterling Seagraves book “Gold Warriors” maybe there are clues about your fathers war time experience or Philippine life, I know, a long shot but…

  2. Steve Hodel on April 4, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    D.R.: Thanks for the information on the translation. No, have not read the book. Unfortunately, while we have a lot of answers, George Hodel’s mysterious life will keep as many hidden as are now revealed. So much we don’t and likely will never know. Again, my thanks. Steve

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