February 8, 2023
Birch Bay, Washington
Man Ray and Juliet Browner (top) and Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning (bottom)
celebrate October 25, 1946, double marriages in Beverly Hills, California.
The photo was taken on that date by famed portrait photographer Florence Homolka
Los Angeles records show they were married on October 23, 1946.
Critics of my investigation have claimed for decades that Man Ray did not leave Los Angeles until 1951, some four years after the brutal murder of Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short that occurred on January 15, 1947.
Recent documented records prove otherwise. While I have yet to discover their actual departure date from Los Angeles, travel records show that Man Ray and Juliet returned from Paris, France via TWA Flight 84717 arriving in New York on September 17, 1947. (Making an educated guess I would estimate the Rays left LA sometime in June 1947, likely for the expressed purpose of attending their good friend Marcel Duchamp’s “Le Surrealisme en 1947 Exhibition’ in Paris, France which was on display in July-August 1947. See below for further details.)
(Graphic by author Robert Sadler)
On January 15, 1947, LAPD detectives responded to the “dump site” (not actual original crime scene) and photographed the victim’s posed and tortured body, bisected at the waist. The right breast had been surgically removed and was not recovered at the location and its whereabouts was never discovered.
As detailed in Black Dahlia Avenger I, II, and III strong linkage and evidence that the crime was committed by Dr. George Hodel. Further, that these close friends Man Ray, Juliet Man Ray, William Copely, and most probably Marcel Duchamp all KNEW of the crime and that their friend, Dr. Hodel committed it as his ultimate “surreal masterpiece.”
A few months after the January 1947 “Black Dahlia” occurred Marcel Duchamp created his “Please Touch” art object, (a surgically bisected woman’s breast) and it became the cover piece for his exhibition in Paris in July/August of the same year.
Marcel Duchamp and Enrico Donati – Priere de toucher (Please Touch)
Paris Exhibition July-August 1947
Coroner’s Office Crime scene, Los Angeles
The 2023 asking price is $50,000 for the original 1947 publication with foam breast on the cover.
The volume includes contributions by: Dorothea Tanning, Max Ernst, and Henry Miller (all personal friends/acquaintances of Dr. George Hill Hodel)
This new documentation clearly shows that Man Ray and his new wife, Juliet traveled to Paris, France in the weeks or months preceding his good friend Marcel Duchamp’s exhibition and returned shortly after the exhibition closed in August 1947. Included in the Duchamp exhibition were artworks created by both Dorothea Tanning and her new husband, Max Ernst. While it would seem likely that they also traveled to Paris to view the exhibit, documentation has yet to be found confirming my suspicions.
To be clear, I am not suggesting that Duchamp’s “Please Touch” was inspired by Dr. George Hill Hodel’s butchery of Elizabeth Short’s body in January 1947, quite the contrary. I am suggesting just the reverse–the possibility that GHH possibly through his good friend Man Ray was privileged to see Duchamp’s “work in progress” in the months preceding the murder and like the other preexisting surrealist artworks, included it as part of his own macabre surreal masterpiece, just six months before it was on display in Paris, France.
Additionally, documentation shows that artist Marcel Duchamp departed from France on the passenger ship, S.S. Washington on January 13, 1947 and arrived in New York on January 22nd, so he was “at sea” at the time of Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short’s murder, on January 15, 1947.
Here is a short bio/obituary on Max Ernst’s death at age 85. Ernst was married four times, including to art collector, Peggy Guggenheim who helped Ernst come to America in 1940. (Same year that Man Ray arrived in the United States.)