I was at work on my biography of Man Ray in the fall of 1984, chatting with Virgil Thomson at his rooms in the Chelsea Hotel, and he urged me to call upon the composer Ned Rorem — “Man knew him in Paris in the ’50’s,” Thomson told me. I was warmly welcomed by Rorem in his cozy, book-lined, musical-score crowded brownstone apartment on the West Side near Central Park, where he regaled me with the tale of his photo-session with Man Ray. “He was always reminding me how beautiful I was,” Rorem said with a knowing smile, “that he had to take my picture. On the phone he said wear something white,” Rorem recalled, “so I ‘borrowed’ my friend Jerry Robbins‘ white raincoat — and snatched his red scarf as well!” After a cup of tea and the obligatory cookies, as I was leaving, Rorem kindly loaned me the precious memento you see above, in all its soft-focus, modern-Romantic glory.

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