Catherine Deneuve Models Funky ’60s Man Ray Earrings

Every artist needs a muse. In the case of the American surrealist photographer and painter Man Ray, he chose a most elegant one in Catherine Deneuve. In this 1966 photo, the French actress models the artist’s iconic lampshade earrings, which were 5½ inches long and constructed of gold-plated silver. “Man Ray liked to play with the viewer’s definitions and ideas of what objects are,” says Jeremiah Evarts, a specialist in the impressionist and modern art department at Sotheby’s in New York City. “It’s really all about whimsy. You can see in her face the joy I think they had planning the photograph together.”

A private collector brought the Man Ray earrings to Sotheby’s in 2009. The auction house—which made sure to publicly connect the piece to that famous photo of Deneuve wearing them—sold the pair to another private collector for $18,750. “Deneuve looks so effortless wearing them,” says Evarts, adding that despite the earrings’ visual heft, they were surprisingly light. “We pitched it as something that could be worn as an object, not just displayed in a home.”

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