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Born:July 28, 1887France...(Show more)Died:October 2, 1968 (aged 81)Neuilly-sur-SeineFrance...(Show more)Founder:Société Anonyme...(Show more)Notable Works:“Bicycle Wheel”“Étant donnés: 1. La chute d’eau, 2. Le gaz d’éclairage”“Fountain”“Le passage de la Vierge à la Mariée”“Mariée”“Nude descending a Staircase, No. 2”“Pharmacy”“The Bride Stripped ceiling by her Bachelors, also (The big Glass)”...(Show more)Movement / Style:DadaOrphismSurrealismready-madeSection d’Or...(Show more)

Marcel Duchamp, in complete Henri-Robert-Marcel Duchamp, (born July 28, 1887, Blainville, France—died October 2, 1968, Neuilly), French artist who broke down the boundaries between works that art and also everyday objects. ~ the sensation caused by Nude diminish a Staircase, No. 2 (1912), that painted few other pictures. His irreverence for traditional aesthetic criter led him to devise his famed ready-mades and also heralded an artistic revolution. Duchamp to be friendly v the Dadaists, and in the 1930s he helped to to organize Surrealist exhibitions. He ended up being a U.S. Citizen in 1955.

Early years

Although Duchamp’s father was a notary the family members had an imaginative tradition stemming from his grandfather, a shipping certified dealer who exercised engraving seriously. Four of the six Duchamp children became artists. Gaston, born in 1875, was later known as Jacques Villon, and Raymond, born in 1876, dubbed himself Duchamp-Villon. Marcel, the youngest the the boys, and also his sister Suzanne, born in 1889, both retained the name Duchamp together artists.


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When Marcel arrived in Paris in October 1904, his two elder brothers were currently in a place to aid him. He had actually done some painting at home, and also his Portrait the Marcel Lefrançois mirrors him already in possession that a style and of a technique. Throughout the next few years, while illustration cartoons for comic magazines, Duchamp passed quickly through the main modern trends in painting—Post-Impressionism, the influence of Paul Cézanne, Fauvism, and finally Cubism. He was just experimenting, seeing no virtue in making a habit of any kind of one style. He to be outside artistic tradition not only in shunning repeat but likewise in no attempting a prolific output or frequent exhibition that his work. In the Fauvist style Marcel painted several of his ideal early occupational three or 4 years after ~ the Fauvist activity itself had died away. The Portrait the the Artist’s Father is a remarkable example. Just in 1911 did he begin to repaint in a path that showed a trace of Cubism. He had then become a friend of the poet Guillaume Apollinaire, a strong supporter that Cubism and of whatever avant-garde in the arts. An additional of his near friends was Francis Picabia, himself a painter in the most orthodox style of Impressionism till 1909, once he feeling the need of complete change. Duchamp mutual with him the feeling that Cubism was as well systematic, also static and “boring.” castle both passed directly from “semirealism” come a “nonobjective” expression the movement. There they met “Futurism” and “Abstractionism,” i beg your pardon they had known before only by name.

To an exhibition in 1911 Duchamp sent out Portrait (Dulcinea), i m sorry was written of a series of five practically monochromatic, superimposed silhouettes. In this juxtaposition of successive phases of the movement of a single body shows up the idea for the Nude descending a Staircase, No. 2. The key difference in between the 2 works is that in the previously one the kangaroo-like silhouettes can be distinguished. In the Nude, on the other hand, there is no nude at all yet only a descending machine, a nonobjective and also virtually cinematic effect that was entirely new in painting.


When the Nude was carried to the 28th shop des Indépendants in February 1912, the committee, written of friends of the Duchamp family, refuse to cave the painting. These guys were no reactionaries and also were well accustomed to Cubism, yet they were unable to expropriate the novel vision. A year later on at the Armory display in new York City, the painting again was singled the end from amongst hundreds that were same shocking come the public. Whatever it was that made the job-related so scandalous in Paris, and also in brand-new York so tremendous a success, triggered Duchamp come stop painting at the period of 25. A widely held belief is the Duchamp presented in his occupational a dimension of irony, practically a mock of paint itself, the was much more than anyone can bear and that undermined his own id in painting. The location alone was a joke the was resented. Also the Cubists did their best to flatter the eye, but Duchamp’s just motive seemed to be provocation.

Farewell come art

In 1912, ~ the Nude, Duchamp go a few more paintings. Some of these, especially Le i de la Vierge à la Mariée and also Mariée, both excellent in Munich, are among the finest works of the period. Again they were neither Cubist, no one Futurist, nor Abstract, but they expressed Duchamp’s common vision the the body regarded in that is inmost impulses.

There to be no inquiry that together a artist Duchamp was on a footing through the most gifted. What he short was belief in art itself, and he seek to change aesthetic worths in his new world v an aggressive intellectualism protest to the so-called common-sense world. As early as 1913 he began studies for an utterly awkward piece: The Bride Stripped ceiling by she Bachelors, even (The large Glass). Because that it, he repudiated entirely what he referred to as retinal arts and embraced the geometrical methods of commercial design. It became like the blueprint of a machine, albeit a symbolic one, the embodied his concepts of man, woman, and also love.

Like the Nude, The huge Glass was to be unique amongst works of contemporary painting. In between 1913 and 1923, Duchamp worked nearly exclusively on the preliminary studies and also the actual paint of the photo itself. His taking leave to painting was by no way a farewell come work.

During this period a hit of genius led him come a exploration of an excellent importance in modern-day art, the so-called ready-made. In 1913 he produced the Bicycle Wheel, i m sorry was just an plain bicycle wheel. In 1914 Pharmacy included a commercial print of a winter landscape, to which he added two little figures reminiscent of pharmacists’ bottles. It was almost 40 years before the ready-mades were checked out as an ext than a derisive gesture versus the too much importance enclosed to functions of art, before their positive values to be understood. Through the ready-mades, modern-day art became in itself a mixture that creation and also criticism.

When people War I broke out, Duchamp, who was freed from armed forces service, was living and also working in virtually complete isolation. That left France because that the joined States, wherein he had actually made friends with the Armory Show. When he landing in new York in June 1915, the was welcomed by reporters together a well known man. His warm reception in pundit circles also raised his spirits. The rich poet and also collector Walter Arensberg arranged a studio because that him in his own home, whereby the painter immediately set to occupational on The huge Glass. He came to be the center of the Arensberg group, enjoying a reputation that led to countless offers from art galleries passionate to handle the functions of the artist of the Nude. He refuse them all, however, not wanting to start a full time career as a painter. To assistance himself, he gave French lessons. He was then, and remained, one artist whose functions would have actually been sought after yet who was contents to distribute them cost-free among his friend or to market them because that intentionally tiny amounts. He assisted Arensberg buy earlier as numerous of his works as might be found, including the Nude. They became a feature of the Arensberg Collection, which was left to the Philadelphia Museum that Art.

Besides The big Glass, on which he worked for eight more years till abandoning it in 1923, Duchamp did only a few more ready-mades. One, a urinal titled Fountain, he sent to the very first exhibition the the society of elevation Artists, in 1917. Although he was a founder-member that this society, he had actually signed the occupational “R. Mutt,” and therefore it to be refused. His ready-mades had actually anticipated by a few years the Dada movement, i m sorry Picabia presented to new York City in the newspaper 291 (1917). Together an echo of the movement, Duchamp helped Arensberg and also H.P. Roché to publish The blind Man, which had only 2 issues, and also Rongwrong, which had actually only one. Later, v the artist male Ray, he released a single issue of New York Dada in 1921.


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In 1918 he marketed The big Glass, which was still unfinished, to Walter Arensberg. Through the money from this and another painting, his last, he spent nine months in Buenos Aires, where he heard that the armistice and also of the deaths the his brothers Raymond Duchamp-Villon and of Apollinaire. In Paris in 1919 he continued to be with Picabia and established call with the very first Dada group. This was the chance of his most renowned ready-made, a picture of the Mona Lisa v a moustache and also a goatee added. The act expressed the Dadaists’ scorn because that the art of the past, which in their eyes was component of the infamy that a people that had produced the horrors that the war just ended.

In February 1923 Duchamp quit working top top The huge Glass, considering it definitely and permanently unfinished. As the year passed, art activity of any kind interested that less and also less, yet the cinema came to fulfill his pleasure in movement. His functions to this point had been just potential machines, and it was time because that him to produce machines that were real, that worked and also moved. The first ones were devoted to optics and also led to a brief film, Anemic Cinema (1926). Through these and also other products, consisting of “optical phonograph records,” the acted together a kind of amateur engineer. The modesty of his results, however, was a means by i beg your pardon he could ridicule the ambitions of industry. The remainder of the time he was took in in chess playing, also taking part in worldwide tournaments and publishing a writing on the subject in 1932.

Although Duchamp very closely avoided art circles, he remained in call with the Surrealist group in Paris, written of numerous of his former Dadaist friends. Once in 1934 he released the Green Box, containing a collection of records related to The huge Glass, the Surrealist poet André Breton regarded the importance of the painting and also wrote the very first comprehensive research of Duchamp, which showed up in the Paris newspaper Minotaure in 1935. From that time top top there to be a closer association in between the Surrealists and Duchamp, who aided Breton come organize every the Surrealist exhibitions indigenous 1938 come 1959. Just prior to World battle II the assembled his Boîte-en-valise, a suitcase comprise 68 small-scale reproductions of his works. Once the Nazis occupied France, the smuggled his material throughout the border in the food of several trips. Eventually he lugged it to new York City, whereby he join a variety of the Surrealists in exile, consisting of Breton, Max Ernst, and Yves Tanguy. He was crucial in organizing the Surrealist exhibition in brand-new York City in October and November the 1942.

Unlike his co-exiles, he felt at house in America, whereby he had plenty of friends. Throughout the war, the exhibition that The huge Glass in ~ the Museum of contemporary Art, brand-new York City, helped to recovery his reputation, and also a special problem of the art magazine View was committed to the in 1945. Two years later he was ago in Paris assisting Breton v a Surrealist exhibition, but he returned to new York City promptly and spent many of the remainder of his life there. ~ his marriage to Teeny Sattler in 1954, the lived more than ever before in semiretirement, content through chess and also with producing, as the spirit relocated him, some strange and unexpected object.

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This contemplative life was interrupted in about 1960, once the climbing generation the American artist realized the Duchamp had uncovered answers for countless of their problems. All of sudden tributes concerned him from almost everywhere the world. Retrospective mirrors of his works were arranged in America and also Europe. Even much more astonishing were the replicas the his ready-mades developed in restricted editions v his permission, yet the best surprise to be still come come. ~ his death in Neuilly his girlfriend heard the he had operated secretly for his last two decades on a major piece dubbed Étant donnés: 1. La chute d’eau, 2. Le gaz d’éclairage (Given: 1. The Waterfall, 2. The Illuminating Gas). That is now at the Philadelphia Museum that Art and offers with two small holes in a hefty wooden door a glimpse the Duchamp’s enigma.