Marcel Duchamp
Overview
Marcel Duchamp was a French artist whose work is most often associated with the Dada
Dada
Dada or Dadaism is a cultural movement that began in Zurich, Switzerland, during World War I and peaked from 1916 to 1922. The movement primarily involved visual arts, literature—poetry, art manifestoes, art theory—theatre, and graphic design, and concentrated its anti-war politics through a...

ist and Surrealist
Surrealism
Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members....

 movements. Considered by some to be one of the most important artists of the 20th century, Duchamp's output influenced the development of post-World War I Western art. He advised modern art collectors, such as Peggy Guggenheim
Peggy Guggenheim
Marguerite "Peggy" Guggenheim was an American art collector. Born to a wealthy New York City family, she was the daughter of Benjamin Guggenheim, who went down with the Titanic in 1912 and the niece of Solomon R. Guggenheim, who would establish the Solomon R...

 and other prominent figures, thereby helping to shape the tastes of Western art
Western art history
Western art is the art of the North American and European countries, and art created in the forms accepted by those countries.Written histories of Western art often begin with the art of the Ancient Middle East, Ancient Egypt and the Ancient Aegean civilisations, dating from the 3rd millennium BC...

 during this period.

Duchamp challenged conventional thought about artistic processes and art marketing, not so much by writing, but through subversive actions such as dubbing a urinal art and naming it Fountain
Fountain (Duchamp)
Fountain is a 1917 work by Marcel Duchamp. It is one of the pieces which he called readymades. In such pieces he made use of an already existing object. In this case Duchamp used a urinal, which he titled Fountain and signed "R. Mutt". Readymades also go by the term Found object...

.
Quotations

I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own tastes.

quoted by Harriet & Sidney Janis in "Marchel Duchamp: Anti-Artist" in View magazine (3/21/45)

Encyclopedia
Marcel Duchamp was a French artist whose work is most often associated with the Dada
Dada
Dada or Dadaism is a cultural movement that began in Zurich, Switzerland, during World War I and peaked from 1916 to 1922. The movement primarily involved visual arts, literature—poetry, art manifestoes, art theory—theatre, and graphic design, and concentrated its anti-war politics through a...

ist and Surrealist
Surrealism
Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members....

 movements. Considered by some to be one of the most important artists of the 20th century, Duchamp's output influenced the development of post-World War I Western art. He advised modern art collectors, such as Peggy Guggenheim
Peggy Guggenheim
Marguerite "Peggy" Guggenheim was an American art collector. Born to a wealthy New York City family, she was the daughter of Benjamin Guggenheim, who went down with the Titanic in 1912 and the niece of Solomon R. Guggenheim, who would establish the Solomon R...

 and other prominent figures, thereby helping to shape the tastes of Western art
Western art history
Western art is the art of the North American and European countries, and art created in the forms accepted by those countries.Written histories of Western art often begin with the art of the Ancient Middle East, Ancient Egypt and the Ancient Aegean civilisations, dating from the 3rd millennium BC...

 during this period.

Duchamp challenged conventional thought about artistic processes and art marketing, not so much by writing, but through subversive actions such as dubbing a urinal art and naming it Fountain
Fountain (Duchamp)
Fountain is a 1917 work by Marcel Duchamp. It is one of the pieces which he called readymades. In such pieces he made use of an already existing object. In this case Duchamp used a urinal, which he titled Fountain and signed "R. Mutt". Readymades also go by the term Found object...

. He produced relatively few artworks, while moving quickly through the avant-garde
Avant-garde
Avant-garde means "advance guard" or "vanguard". The adjective form is used in English to refer to people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture, and politics....

 circles of his time.
The creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act. - Marcel Duchamp

Life

Marcel Duchamp was born in Blainville-Crevon
Blainville-Crevon
Blainville-Crevon is a commune in the Seine-Maritime département of the Haute-Normandie region of northern France.-Geography:A farming village situated by the banks of the river Crevon in the Pays de Caux, some northeast of Rouen, at the junction of the D12, D7 and the D98 roads.-Toponymy:Medieval...

 Seine-Maritime
Seine-Maritime
Seine-Maritime is a French department in the Haute-Normandie region in northern France. It is situated on the northern coast of France, at the mouth of the Seine, and includes the cities of Rouen and Le Havre...

 in the Haute-Normandie
Haute-Normandie
Upper Normandy is one of the 27 regions of France. It was created in 1984 from two départements: Seine-Maritime and Eure, when Normandy was divided into Lower Normandy and Upper Normandy. This division continues to provoke controversy, and some continue to call for reuniting the two regions...

 region of France, and grew up in a family that enjoyed cultural activities. The art of painter and engraver Emile Nicolle, his maternal grandfather, filled the house, and the family liked to play chess, read books, paint, and make music together.

Of Eugene and Lucie Duchamp's seven children, one died as an infant and four became successful artists. Marcel Duchamp was the brother of:
  • Jacques Villon
    Jacques Villon
    Jacques Villon was a French cubist painter and printmaker.-Early life:Born Gaston Emile Duchamp in Damville, Eure, in the Haute-Normandie region of France, he came from a prosperous and artistically inclined family...

     (1875–1963), painter, printmaker
  • Raymond Duchamp-Villon
    Raymond Duchamp-Villon
    Raymond Duchamp-Villon was a French sculptor.Duchamp-Villon was born Pierre-Maurice-Raymond Duchamp in Damville, Eure, in the Haute-Normandie region of France, the second son of Eugene and Lucie Duchamp. Of the six Duchamp children, four would become successful artists...

      (1876–1918), sculptor
  • Suzanne Duchamp-Crotti
    Suzanne Duchamp
    Suzanne Duchamp-Crotti was a French Dadaist painter. Born in Blainville-Crevon, Seine-Maritime in the Haute-Normandie Region of France, she was the fourth of six children born into the artistic family of Eugene and Lucie Duchamp.Suzanne Duchamp-Crotti was the younger sister of:*Jacques Villon née...

     (1889–1963), painter.


As a child, with his two older brothers already away from home at school in Rouen, Duchamp was close to his sister Suzanne, who was a willing accomplice in games and activities conjured by his fertile imagination. At 10 years old, Duchamp followed in his brothers' footsteps when he left home and began schooling at the Lycée Pierre-Corneille, in Rouen. For the next 7 years, he was locked into an educational regime which focused on intellectual development. Though he was not an outstanding student, his best subject was mathematics and he won two mathematics prizes at the school. He also won a prize for drawing in 1903, and at his commencement in 1904 he won a coveted first prize, validating his recent decision to become an artist.

He learned academic drawing from a teacher who unsuccessfully attempted to protect his students from Impressionism
Impressionism
Impressionism was a 19th-century art movement that originated with a group of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions brought them to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s...

, Post-Impressionism
Post-Impressionism
Post-Impressionism is the term coined by the British artist and art critic Roger Fry in 1910 to describe the development of French art since Manet. Fry used the term when he organized the 1910 exhibition Manet and Post-Impressionism...

, and other avant-garde influences. However, Duchamp's true artistic mentor at the time was his brother Jacques Villon, whose fluid and incisive style he sought to imitate. At 14, his first serious art attempts were drawings and watercolors depicting his sister Suzanne in various poses and activities. That summer he also painted landscapes in an Impressionist style using oils.

Early work

Duchamp's early art works align with Post-Impressionist
Post-Impressionism
Post-Impressionism is the term coined by the British artist and art critic Roger Fry in 1910 to describe the development of French art since Manet. Fry used the term when he organized the 1910 exhibition Manet and Post-Impressionism...

 styles. He experimented with classical techniques and subjects, as well as with Cubism
Cubism
Cubism was a 20th century avant-garde art movement, pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, that revolutionized European painting and sculpture, and inspired related movements in music, literature and architecture...

 and Fauvism
Fauvism
Fauvism is the style of les Fauves , a short-lived and loose group of early twentieth-century Modern artists whose works emphasized painterly qualities and strong colour over the representational or realistic values retained by Impressionism...

. When he was later asked about what had influenced him at the time, Duchamp cited the work of Symbolist painter Odilon Redon
Odilon Redon
Bertrand-Jean Redon, better known as Odilon Redon was a French symbolist painter, printmaker, draughtsman and pastellist.-Life:...

, whose approach to art was not outwardly anti-academic, but quietly individual.

He studied art at the Académie Julian
Académie Julian
The Académie Julian was an art school in Paris, France.Rodolphe Julian established the Académie Julian in 1868 at the Passage des Panoramas, as a private studio school for art students. The Académie Julian not only prepared students to the exams at the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts, but offered...

 from 1904 to 1905, but preferred playing billiards to attending classes. During this time Duchamp drew and sold cartoons which reflected his ribald humor. Many of the drawings use visual and/or verbal pun
Pun
The pun, also called paronomasia, is a form of word play which suggests two or more meanings, by exploiting multiple meanings of words, or of similar-sounding words, for an intended humorous or rhetorical effect. These ambiguities can arise from the intentional use and abuse of homophonic,...

s. Such play with words and symbols engaged his imagination for the rest of his life.

In 1905, he began his compulsory military service, working for a printer in Rouen. There he learned typography
Typography
Typography is the art and technique of arranging type in order to make language visible. The arrangement of type involves the selection of typefaces, point size, line length, leading , adjusting the spaces between groups of letters and adjusting the space between pairs of letters...

 and printing
Printing
Printing is a process for reproducing text and image, typically with ink on paper using a printing press. It is often carried out as a large-scale industrial process, and is an essential part of publishing and transaction printing....

 processes – skills he would use in his later work.

Due to his eldest brother Jacques'
Jacques Villon
Jacques Villon was a French cubist painter and printmaker.-Early life:Born Gaston Emile Duchamp in Damville, Eure, in the Haute-Normandie region of France, he came from a prosperous and artistically inclined family...

 membership in the prestigious Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture Duchamp's work was exhibited in the 1908 Salon d'Automne
Salon d'Automne
In 1903, the first Salon d'Automne was organized by Georges Rouault, André Derain, Henri Matisse, Angele Delasalle and Albert Marquet as a reaction to the conservative policies of the official Paris Salon...

. The following year his work was featured in the Salon des Indépendants. Of Duchamp's pieces in the show, critic Guillaume Apollinaire
Guillaume Apollinaire
Wilhelm Albert Włodzimierz Apolinary Kostrowicki, known as Guillaume Apollinaire was a French poet, playwright, short story writer, novelist, and art critic born in Italy to a Polish mother....

--who was to become a friend—criticized what he called "Duchamp's very ugly nudes." Duchamp also became lifelong friends with exuberant artist Francis Picabia
Francis Picabia
Francis Picabia was a French painter, poet, and typographist, associated with both the Dada and Surrealist art movements.- Early life :...

 after meeting him at the 1911 Salon d' Automne, and Picabia proceeded to introduce him to a lifestyle of fast cars and 'high' living.

In 1911, at Jacques' home in Puteaux
Puteaux
Puteaux is a commune in the western suburbs of Paris, France. It is located in the heart of the Hauts-de-Seine department from the center of Paris....

, the brothers hosted a regular discussion group with other artists and writers including Picabia
Francis Picabia
Francis Picabia was a French painter, poet, and typographist, associated with both the Dada and Surrealist art movements.- Early life :...

, Robert Delaunay
Robert Delaunay
Robert Delaunay was a French artist who, with his wife Sonia Delaunay and others, cofounded the Orphism art movement, noted for its use of strong colours and geometric shapes. His later works were more abstract, reminiscent of Paul Klee...

, Fernand Léger
Fernand Léger
Joseph Fernand Henri Léger was a French painter, sculptor, and filmmaker. In his early works he created a personal form of Cubism which he gradually modified into a more figurative, populist style...

, Roger de la Fresnaye
Roger de La Fresnaye
Roger de La Fresnaye was a French cubist painter.-Early years and education:La Fresnaye was born in Le Mans where his father, an officer in the French army, was temporarily stationed. The La Fresnayes were an aristocratic family whose ancestral home, the Château de La Fresnaye, is in Falaise...

, Albert Gleizes
Albert Gleizes
Albert Gleizes , was a French painter. Born Albert Léon Gleizes and raised in Paris, he was the son of a fabric designer who ran a large industrial design workshop...

, Jean Metzinger
Jean Metzinger
Jean Metzinger was a French painter.Metzinger was born in Nantes, France. Initially he was influenced by Fauvism and Impressionism, but from 1908 he was associated with Cubism. Metzinger was a member of the Section d'Or group of artists...

, Juan Gris
Juan Gris
José Victoriano González-Pérez , better known as Juan Gris, was a Spanish painter and sculptor who lived and worked in France most of his life...

, and Alexander Archipenko
Alexander Archipenko
Alexander Porfyrovych Archipenko was a Ukrainian avant-garde artist, sculptor, and graphic artist.-Biography:...

. The group came to be known as the Puteaux Group, and the artists' work was dubbed Orphic cubism
Orphism (art)
Orphism or Orphic Cubism , the term coined by the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire, was a little known art movement during the time of Cubism that focused on pure abstraction and bright colors influenced by Fauvism and the dye chemist Eugène Chevreul...

. Uninterested in the Cubists' seriousness or in their focus on visual matters, Duchamp did not join in discussions of Cubist theory, and gained a reputation of being shy. However, that same year he painted in a Cubist style, and added an impression of motion by using repetitive imagery.

During this period Duchamp's fascination with transition, change, movement and distance became manifest, and like many artists of the time, he was intrigued with the concept of depicting a "Fourth dimension" in art.

Works from this period included his first "machine" painting, Coffee Mill (Moulin à café) (1911), which he gave to his brother Raymond Duchamp-Villon. The Coffee Mill shows similarity to the "grinder" mechanism of the Large Glass he was to paint years later.

In his 1911,Portrait of Chess Players (Portrait de joueurs d'echecs) there is the Cubist overlapping frames and multiple perspectives of his two brothers playing chess, but to that Duchamp added elements conveying the unseen mental activity of the players. (Notably, "échec" is French for "failure".)

Nude Descending a Staircase No.2

Duchamp's first work to provoke significant controversy was Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2
Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2
-External links:* at the Philadelphia Museum of Art* from Life magazine...

(Nu descendant un escalier n° 2) (1912). The painting depicts the mechanistic motion of a nude, with superimposed facets, similar to motion pictures. It shows elements of both the fragmentation and synthesis of the Cubists
Cubism
Cubism was a 20th century avant-garde art movement, pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, that revolutionized European painting and sculpture, and inspired related movements in music, literature and architecture...

, and the movement and dynamism of the Futurists
Futurism (art)
Futurism was an artistic and social movement that originated in Italy in the early 20th century. It emphasized and glorified themes associated with contemporary concepts of the future, including speed, technology, youth and violence, and objects such as the car, the airplane and the industrial city...

.

He first submitted the piece to appear at the Cubist Salon des Indépendants, but jurist Albert Gleizes
Albert Gleizes
Albert Gleizes , was a French painter. Born Albert Léon Gleizes and raised in Paris, he was the son of a fabric designer who ran a large industrial design workshop...

 asked Duchamp's brothers to have him voluntarily withdraw the painting, or to paint over the title that he had painted on the work and rename it something else. Duchamp's brothers did approach him with Gleizes' request, but Duchamp quietly refused. Of the incident Duchamp later recalled, "I said nothing to my brothers. But I went immediately to the show and took my painting home in a taxi. It was really a turning point in my life, I can assure you. I saw that I would not be very much interested in groups after that."

He later submitted the painting to the 1913 "Armory Show
Armory Show
Many exhibitions have been held in the vast spaces of U.S. National Guard armories, but the Armory Show refers to the 1913 International Exhibition of Modern Art that was organized by the Association of American Painters and Sculptors...

" in New York City. The exhibition was officially named the International Exhibition of Modern Art, displayed works of American artists, and was also the first major exhibition of modern trends coming out of Paris. American show-goers, accustomed to realistic art, were scandalized, and the Nude was at the center of much of the controversy.

Leaving "retinal art" behind

At about this time, Duchamp read Max Stirner
Max Stirner
Johann Kaspar Schmidt , better known as Max Stirner , was a German philosopher, who ranks as one of the literary fathers of nihilism, existentialism, post-modernism and anarchism, especially of individualist anarchism...

's philosophical tract, The Ego and Its Own
The Ego and Its Own
The Ego and Its Own is a philosophical work by German philosopher Max Stirner . This work was first published in 1845, although with a stated publication date of "1844" to confuse the Prussian censors.-Content:...

, the study of which he considered another turning point in his artistic and intellectual development. He called it "...a remarkable book ... which advances no formal theories, but just keeps saying that the ego is always there in everything."

While in Germany in 1912, he painted the last of his Cubist-like paintings and he started "Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors" image, and began making plans for The Large Glass – scribbling short notes to himself, sometimes with hurried sketches. It would be over 10 years before this piece was completed. Little else is known about the two-month stay in Germany except that the friend he visited was intent on showing him the sights and the nightlife.

The same year, Duchamp also attended a performance of a stage adaptation of Raymond Roussel
Raymond Roussel
Raymond Roussel was a French poet, novelist, playwright, musician, and chess enthusiast. Through his novels, poems, and plays he exerted a profound influence on certain groups within 20th century French literature, including the Surrealists, Oulipo, and the authors of the nouveau...

's 1910 novel, Impressions d'Afrique which featured plots that turned in on themselves, word play, surrealistic sets and humanoid machines. He credited the drama with having radically changed his approach to art, and having inspired him to begin the creation of his The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even
The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even
The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even , most often called The Large Glass , is an artwork by Marcel Duchamp....

, also known as The Large Glass. Work on The Large Glass continued into 1913, with his invention of inventing a repertoire of forms. He made notes, sketches and painted studies, and even drew some of his ideas on the wall of his apartment.

Towards the end of 1912, he traveled with Picabia, Apollinaire and Gabrielle Buffet-Picabia through the Jura mountains
Jura mountains
The Jura Mountains are a small mountain range located north of the Alps, separating the Rhine and Rhone rivers and forming part of the watershed of each...

, an adventure that Buffet-Picabia described as one of their "forays of demoralization, which were also forays of witticism and clownery ... the disintegration of the concept of art.". Duchamp's notes from the trip avoid logic and sense, and have a surrealistic, mythical connotation.

Duchamp painted few canvases after 1912, and in those he did, he attempted to remove "painterly
Painterly
Painterliness is a translation of the German term , a word popularized by Swiss art historian Heinrich Wölfflin in order to help focus, enrich and standardize the terms being used by art historians of his time to characterize works of art...

" effects, and instead to use a technical drawing approach.

His broad interests led him to an exhibition of aviation technology during this period, after which Duchamp said to his friend Constantin Brâncuşi
Constantin Brancusi
Constantin Brâncuşi was a Romanian-born sculptor who made his career in France. As a child he displayed an aptitude for carving wooden farm tools. Formal studies took him first to Bucharest, then to Munich, then to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris...

, "Painting is washed up. Who will ever do anything better than that propeller? Tell me, can you do that?". Brâncuşi later sculpted bird forms
Bird in Space
Bird in Space is a series of sculptures by Constantin Brâncuşi, a Romanian sculptor. The original work was created in 1923...

, which U.S. Customs officials mistook for aviation parts and for which they attempted to collect import duties.

In 1913, Duchamp withdrew from painting circles and began working as a librarian in the Bibliotèque Sainte-Geneviève to be able to earn a living wage while concentrating on scholarly realms and working on his Large Glass. He studied math and physics – areas in which exciting new discoveries were taking place. The theoretical writings of Henri Poincaré
Henri Poincaré
Jules Henri Poincaré was a French mathematician, theoretical physicist, engineer, and a philosopher of science...

 particularly intrigued and inspired Duchamp. Poincaré postulated that the laws believed to govern matter were created solely by the minds that "understood" them and that no theory could be considered "true." "The things themselves are not what science can reach..., but only the relations between things. Outside of these relations there is no knowable reality",Poincaré wrote in 1902. Reflecting the influence of Poincaré's writings, Duchamp tolerated any interpretation of his art by regarding it as the creation of the person who formulated it, not as truth.

Duchamp's own art-science experiments began during his tenure at the library. To make one of his favorite pieces, 3 Standard Stoppages (3 stoppages étalon), he dropped three 1-meter lengths of thread onto prepared canvases, one at a time, from a height of 1 meter. The threads landed in three random undulating positions. He varnished them into place on the blue-black canvas strips and attached them to glass. He then cut three wood slats into the shapes of the curved strings, and put all the pieces into a croquet box. Three small leather signs with the title printed in gold were glued to each of the "stoppage" backgrounds. The piece appears to literally follow Poincaré's School of the Thread, part of a book on classical mechanics.

In his studio he mounted a bicycle wheel upside down onto a stool, spinning it occasionally just to watch it. It is often assumed that the Bicycle Wheel represents Duchamp's first of his "Readymades"
Readymades of Marcel Duchamp
The readymades of Marcel Duchamp are ordinary manufactured objects that the artist selected and modified, as an antidote to what he called "retinal art". By simply choosing the object and repositioning or joining, titling and signing it, the object became art...

, this particular installation was never submitted for any art exhibition, and was eventually lost. However, initially, the wheel was simply placed in the studio to create atmosphere: "I enjoyed looking at it just as I enjoy looking at the flames dancing in a fireplace."

After World War I was declared in 1914, with his brothers and many friends in military service and himself exempted, Duchamp felt uncomfortable in Paris. Meanwhile, Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2 had scandalized Americans at the Armory Show
Armory Show
Many exhibitions have been held in the vast spaces of U.S. National Guard armories, but the Armory Show refers to the 1913 International Exhibition of Modern Art that was organized by the Association of American Painters and Sculptors...

, and helped secure the sale of all four of his paintings in the show. Thus, being able to finance the trip, Duchamp decided to emigrate to the United States in 1915.To his surprise, he found he was a celebrity when he arrived in New York in 1915, where he quickly befriended art patron Katherine Dreier and artist Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray , born Emmanuel Radnitzky, was an American artist who spent most of his career in Paris, France. Perhaps best described simply as a modernist, he was a significant contributor to both the Dada and Surrealist movements, although his ties to each were informal...

. Duchamp's circle included art patrons Louise and Walter Conrad Arensberg, actress and artist Beatrice Wood
Beatrice Wood
Beatrice Wood was an American artist and studio potter, who late in life was dubbed the "Mama of Dada," and served as a partial inspiration for the character of Rose DeWitt Bukater in James Cameron's 1997 film, Titanic...

 and Francis Picabia
Francis Picabia
Francis Picabia was a French painter, poet, and typographist, associated with both the Dada and Surrealist art movements.- Early life :...

, as well as other avant-garde
Avant-garde
Avant-garde means "advance guard" or "vanguard". The adjective form is used in English to refer to people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture, and politics....

 figures. Though he spoke little English, in the course of supporting himself by giving French lessons and through some library work, he quickly learned the language.

For two years the Arensbergs, who would remain his friends and patrons for 42 years, were the landlords of his studio. In lieu of rent, they agreed that his payment would be The Large Glass. An art gallery offered Duchamp $10,000 per year in exchange for all of his yearly production, but Duchamp declined the offer, preferring to continue his work on The Large Glass.

Société Anonyme

Duchamp created the Société Anonyme
Société Anonyme (art)
Société Anonyme, Inc. was an art organization founded in 1920 by Katherine Dreier, Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp. The society sponsored lectures, concerts, publications, and exhibitions of modern art, including the International Exhibition of Modern Art at the Brooklyn Museum in 1926...

 in 1920, along with Katherine Dreier and Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray , born Emmanuel Radnitzky, was an American artist who spent most of his career in Paris, France. Perhaps best described simply as a modernist, he was a significant contributor to both the Dada and Surrealist movements, although his ties to each were informal...

. This was the beginning of his life-long involvement in art dealing and collecting. The group collected modern art works, and arranged modern art exhibitions and lectures throughout the 1930s.

By this time Walter Pach
Walter Pach
Walter Pach was an artist, critic, lecturer, art adviser, and art historian who wrote extensively about modern art and championed the cause of modern art...

, one of the coordinators of the 1913 Armory Show
Armory Show
Many exhibitions have been held in the vast spaces of U.S. National Guard armories, but the Armory Show refers to the 1913 International Exhibition of Modern Art that was organized by the Association of American Painters and Sculptors...

, sought Duchamp's advice on modern art. Beginning with Société Anonyme, Dreier also depended on Duchamp's counsel in gathering her collection, as did Arensberg. Later Peggy Guggenheim
Peggy Guggenheim
Marguerite "Peggy" Guggenheim was an American art collector. Born to a wealthy New York City family, she was the daughter of Benjamin Guggenheim, who went down with the Titanic in 1912 and the niece of Solomon R. Guggenheim, who would establish the Solomon R...

, Museum of Modern Art
Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art is an art museum in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, on 53rd Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It has been important in developing and collecting modernist art, and is often identified as the most influential museum of modern art in the world...

 directors Alfred Barr
Alfred Barr
Alfred Hamilton Barr, Jr. , known as Alfred H. Barr, Jr., was an American art historian and the first director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City...

 and James Johnson Sweeney
James Johnson Sweeney
James Johnson Sweeney was a curator, and writer about modern art. From 1935 to 1946, he was curator for the Museum of Modern Art. He was the second director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, from 1952 to 1960...

 consulted with Duchamp on their modern art collections and shows.

Dada

New York Dada
Dada
Dada or Dadaism is a cultural movement that began in Zurich, Switzerland, during World War I and peaked from 1916 to 1922. The movement primarily involved visual arts, literature—poetry, art manifestoes, art theory—theatre, and graphic design, and concentrated its anti-war politics through a...

 had a less serious tone than that of European Dadaism, and was not a particularly organized venture. Duchamp's friend Picabia connected with the Dada group in Zürich, bringing to New York the Dadaist ideas of absurdity and "anti-art." A group met almost nightly at the Arensberg
Walter Arensberg
Walter Conrad Arensberg was an American art collector, critic and poet. His father was part owner and president of a crucible steel company. He majored in English and philosophy at Harvard University...

 home, or caroused in Greenwich Village
Greenwich Village
Greenwich Village, , , , .in New York often simply called "the Village", is a largely residential neighborhood on the west side of Lower Manhattan in New York City. A large majority of the district is home to upper middle class families...

. Together with Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray , born Emmanuel Radnitzky, was an American artist who spent most of his career in Paris, France. Perhaps best described simply as a modernist, he was a significant contributor to both the Dada and Surrealist movements, although his ties to each were informal...

, Duchamp contributed his ideas and humor to the New York activities, many of which ran concurrent with the development of his Readymades
Readymades of Marcel Duchamp
The readymades of Marcel Duchamp are ordinary manufactured objects that the artist selected and modified, as an antidote to what he called "retinal art". By simply choosing the object and repositioning or joining, titling and signing it, the object became art...

 and The Large Glass.

The most prominent example of Duchamp's association with Dada was his submission of Fountain
Fountain (Duchamp)
Fountain is a 1917 work by Marcel Duchamp. It is one of the pieces which he called readymades. In such pieces he made use of an already existing object. In this case Duchamp used a urinal, which he titled Fountain and signed "R. Mutt". Readymades also go by the term Found object...

, a urinal, to the Society of Independent Artists
Society of Independent Artists
Society of Independent Artists was an association of American artists founded in 1916 and based in New York.Based on the French Société des Artistes Indépendants, the goal of the society was to hold annual exhibitions by avant-garde artists. Exhibitions were to be open to anyone who wanted to...

 exhibit in 1917. Artworks in the Independent Artists shows were not selected by jury, and all pieces submitted were displayed. However, the show committee insisted that Fountain was not art, and rejected it from the show. This caused an uproar amongst the Dadaists, and led Duchamp to resign from the board of the Independent Artists.

Along with Henri-Pierre Roché
Henri-Pierre Roché
Henri-Pierre Roché was a French author who was deeply involved with the artistic avant-garde in Paris and the Dada movement.- Biography :Roché was born in Paris, France. In 1898, he was an art student at the Académie Julian....

 and Beatrice Wood
Beatrice Wood
Beatrice Wood was an American artist and studio potter, who late in life was dubbed the "Mama of Dada," and served as a partial inspiration for the character of Rose DeWitt Bukater in James Cameron's 1997 film, Titanic...

, Duchamp published a Dada magazine in New York, titled The Blind Man
The Blind Man
The Blind Man was an art and Dada journal published by the New York Dadaists in 1917.Henri-Pierre Roche, Beatrice Wood, and Mina Loy contributed to the first, Independents' Number issue; Walter Arensberg , Gabrielle Buffet-Picabia , Robert Carlton Brown , Frank Crowninshield , Charles Demuth The...

, which included art, literature, humor and commentary.

When he returned to Paris after World War I, Duchamp did not participate in the Dada group.

Readymades

"Readymades" were found objects which Duchamp chose and presented as art. In 1913, Duchamp installed a Bicycle Wheel
Bicycle Wheel
Bicycle Wheel is a readymade by Marcel Duchamp consisting of a bicycle fork with front wheel mounted upside-down on a wooden stool.In 1913 at his Paris studio he mounted the bicycle wheel upside down onto a stool, spinning it occasionally just to watch it. Later he denied that its creation was...

in his studio. However, the idea of Readymades did not fully develop until 1915. The idea was to question the very notion of Art, and the adoration of art, which Duchamp found "unneccessary"
Bottle Rack (1914), a bottle drying rack signed by Duchamp, is considered to be the first "pure" readymade. Prelude to a Broken Arm (1915), a snow shovel, also called In Advance of the Broken Arm, followed soon after. His Fountain
Fountain (Duchamp)
Fountain is a 1917 work by Marcel Duchamp. It is one of the pieces which he called readymades. In such pieces he made use of an already existing object. In this case Duchamp used a urinal, which he titled Fountain and signed "R. Mutt". Readymades also go by the term Found object...

, a urinal signed with the pseudonym "R. Mutt", shocked the art world in 1917. Fountain was selected in 2004 as "the most influential artwork of the 20th century" by 500 renowned artists and historians.
In 1919, Duchamp made a parody
Parody
A parody , in current usage, is an imitative work created to mock, comment on, or trivialise an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of humorous, satiric or ironic imitation...

 of the Mona Lisa
Mona Lisa
Mona Lisa is a portrait by the Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci. It is a painting in oil on a poplar panel, completed circa 1503–1519...

by adorning a cheap reproduction of the painting with a mustache and goatee. To this he added the inscription L.H.O.O.Q.
L.H.O.O.Q.
L.H.O.O.Q. is a work of art by Marcel Duchamp first conceived in 1919. The work is one of what Duchamp referred to as readymades, or more specifically an assisted ready-made...

, a phonetic game which, when read out loud in French quickly sounds like "Elle a chaud au cul". This can be translated as "She has a hot ass", implying that the woman in the painting is in a state of sexual excitement and availability. It may also have been intended as a Freudian joke, referring to Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

's alleged homosexuality. Duchamp gave a "loose" translation of L.H.O.O.Q. as "there is fire down below" in a late interview with Arturo Schwarz
Arturo Schwarz
Arturo Umberto Samuele Schwarz son of a German father and an Italian mother, is an Italian scholar, art historian, poet, writer, lecturer, art consultant and curator of international art exhibitions...

.

According to Rhonda Roland Shearer
Rhonda Roland Shearer
Rhonda Roland Shearer is an American sculptor, scholar and journalist, who founded the nonprofit organization Art Science Research Laboratory with her late husband Stephen Jay Gould. The mission statement avows that the lab aims to "infuse intellectual rigor and critical thinking in disciplines...

, the apparent Mona Lisa reproduction is in fact a copy modeled partly on Duchamp's own face. Research published by Shearer also speculates that Duchamp himself may have created some of the objects which he claimed to be "found objects".

The Large Glass

Duchamp worked on his complex Futurism
Futurism
Futurism was an artistic and social movement that originated in Italy in the early 20th century.Futurism or futurist may refer to:* Afrofuturism, an African-American and African diaspora subculture* Cubo-Futurism* Ego-Futurism...

 inspired piece The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass)
The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even
The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even , most often called The Large Glass , is an artwork by Marcel Duchamp....

from 1915 to 1923, with the exception of periods in Buenos Aires and Paris in 1918–1920. He executed the work on two panes of glass with materials such as lead foil, fuse wire, and dust. It combines chance procedures, plotted perspective studies, and laborious craftsmanship. He published notes for the piece, The Green Box, intended to complement the visual experience. They reflect the creation of unique rules of physics, and a mythology which describes the work. He stated that his "hilarious picture" is intended to depict the erotic encounter between a bride and her nine bachelors.

The piece was inspired by a performance of the stage adaptation of Roussel
Raymond Roussel
Raymond Roussel was a French poet, novelist, playwright, musician, and chess enthusiast. Through his novels, poems, and plays he exerted a profound influence on certain groups within 20th century French literature, including the Surrealists, Oulipo, and the authors of the nouveau...

's novel Impressions d'Afrique which Duchamp attended in 1912. Notes, sketches and plans for the work were drawn on Duchamp's studio walls as early as 1913. In order to concentrate on the work free from material obligations, Duchamp found work as a librarian while living in France. After emigrating to the United States in 1915, he commenced his work on the piece financed by the support of the Arensbergs.

The piece is partially constructed as a retrospective of Duchamp's works, including a three dimensional reproduction of his earlier paintings Bride (1912), Chocolate Grinder (1914) and Glider containing a water mill in neighboring metals (1913–1915), which has opened for numerous interpretations. The work was formally declared "Unfinished" in 1923. Going home from its first public exhibition, the glass broke in its shipping crate and received a large crack in the glass. Duchamp repaired it, but left the cracks in the glass intact, accepting the chance element as a part of the piece.

Until 1969 when the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the largest art museums in the United States. It is located at the west end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park. The Museum was established in 1876 in conjunction with the Centennial Exposition of the same year...

 revealed Duchamp's Etant donnés
Étant donnés
Étant donnés is Marcel Duchamp's last major art work which surprised most of the art world who believed he'd given up art for chess almost 25 years earlier...

tableau, The Large Glass was thought to have been his last major work.

Kinetic works

Duchamp's interest in kinetic works
Kinetic art
Kinetic art is art that contains moving parts or depends on motion for its effect. The moving parts are generally powered by wind, a motor or the observer. Kinetic art encompasses a wide variety of overlapping techniques and styles.-Kinetic sculpture:...

 can be discerned as early as the notes for The Large Glass and the Bicycle Wheel
Bicycle Wheel
Bicycle Wheel is a readymade by Marcel Duchamp consisting of a bicycle fork with front wheel mounted upside-down on a wooden stool.In 1913 at his Paris studio he mounted the bicycle wheel upside down onto a stool, spinning it occasionally just to watch it. Later he denied that its creation was...

readymade, and despite losing interest in "retinal art", he retained interest in visual phenomena.
In 1920, with help from Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray , born Emmanuel Radnitzky, was an American artist who spent most of his career in Paris, France. Perhaps best described simply as a modernist, he was a significant contributor to both the Dada and Surrealist movements, although his ties to each were informal...

, Duchamp built a motorized sculpture, Rotative plaques verre, optique de précision ("Rotary Glass Plates, Precision Optics"). The piece, which he did not consider to be art, involved a motor to spin pieces of rectangular glass on which were painted segments of a circle. When the apparatus spins, an optical illusion occurs, in which the segments appear to be closed concentric circles.

Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray , born Emmanuel Radnitzky, was an American artist who spent most of his career in Paris, France. Perhaps best described simply as a modernist, he was a significant contributor to both the Dada and Surrealist movements, although his ties to each were informal...

 set up equipment to photograph the initial experiment, but when they turned the machine on for the second time, a belt broke, and caught a piece of the glass, which after glancing off Man Ray's head, shattered into bits.

After moving back to Paris in 1923, at André Breton
André Breton
André Breton was a French writer and poet. He is known best as the founder of Surrealism. His writings include the first Surrealist Manifesto of 1924, in which he defined surrealism as "pure psychic automatism"....

's urging and through the financing of Jacques Doucet, Duchamp built another optical device based on the first one, Rotative Demisphère, optique de précision (Rotary Demisphere, Precision Optics). This time the optical element was a globe cut in half, with black concentric circles painted on it. When it spins, the circles appear to move backwards and forwards in space. Duchamp asked that Doucet not exhibit the apparatus as art.

Rotoreliefs were the next phase of Duchamp's spinning works. To make the optical "play toys", he painted designs on flat cardboard circles and spun them on a phonographic turntable. When spinning, the flat disks appeared three-dimensional. He had a printer produce 500 sets of six of the designs, and set up a booth at a 1935 Paris inventors' show to sell them. The venture was a financial disaster, but some optical scientists thought they might be of use in restoring three-dimensional stereoscopic sight to people who have lost vision one eye.

In collaboration with Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray , born Emmanuel Radnitzky, was an American artist who spent most of his career in Paris, France. Perhaps best described simply as a modernist, he was a significant contributor to both the Dada and Surrealist movements, although his ties to each were informal...

 and Marc Allégret
Marc Allégret
Marc Allégret was a French screenwriter and film director.Born in Basel, Basel-Stadt, Switzerland, he was the elder brother of Yves Allégret. Marc was educated to be a lawyer. Allégret became André Gide's lover when he was fifteen and Gide was forty-seven...

, Duchamp filmed early versions of the Rotoreliefs and they named the film Anémic Cinéma
Anemic Cinema
Anemic Cinema or Anémic Cinéma is a Dadaist, surrealist, or experimental film made by Marcel Duchamp. The film depicts whirling animated drawings -- which Duchamp called Rotoreliefs -- alternated with puns in French. Duchamp signed the film with his alter ego name of Rrose Sélavy.Rotoreliefs were...

(1926).

Later, in Alexander Calder
Alexander Calder
Alexander Calder was an American sculptor and artist most famous for inventing mobile sculptures. In addition to mobile and stable sculpture, Alexander Calder also created paintings, lithographs, toys, tapestry, jewelry and household objects.-Childhood:Alexander "Sandy" Calder was born in Lawnton,...

's studio in 1931, while looking at the sculptor's kinetic works, Duchamp suggested that these should be called "mobile
Mobile (sculpture)
A mobile is a type of kinetic sculpture constructed to take advantage of the principle of equilibrium. It consists of a number of rods, from which weighted objects or further rods hang. The objects hanging from the rods balance each other, so that the rods remain more or less horizontal...

s". Calder agreed to use this novel term in his upcoming show. To this day, sculptures of this type are called "mobiles."

Musical Ideas

Between 1912 and 1915, Duchamp worked with various musical ideas. At least three pieces have survived: two compositions and a note for a musical happening. The two compositions are based on chance operations
Aleatoric music
Aleatoric music is music in which some element of the composition is left to chance, and/or some primary element of a composed work's realization is left to the determination of its performer...

. Erratum Musical, written for three voices, was published in 1934. La Mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires même. Erratum Musical is unfinished and was never published or exhibited during Duchamp's lifetime. According to the manuscript, the piece was intended for a mechanical instrument "in which the virtuoso intermediary is suppressed". The manuscript also contains a description for "An apparatus automatically recording fragmented musical periods", consisting of a funnel, several open-end carss and a set of numbered balls. These pieces predate John Cage
John Cage
John Milton Cage Jr. was an American composer, music theorist, writer, philosopher and artist. A pioneer of indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music, and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde...

's Music of Changes
Music of Changes
Music of Changes is a piece for solo piano by John Cage. Composed in 1951 for pianist and friend David Tudor, it is Cage's earliest fully indeterminate instrumental work. The process of composition involved applying decisions made using the I Ching, a Chinese classic text that is commonly used as a...

 (1951), which is often considered the first modern piece to be conceived largely through random procedures.

In 1968, Duchamp and John Cage
John Cage
John Milton Cage Jr. was an American composer, music theorist, writer, philosopher and artist. A pioneer of indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music, and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde...

 appeared together at a concert entitled "Reunion", playing a game of chess and composing Aleatoric music
Aleatoric music
Aleatoric music is music in which some element of the composition is left to chance, and/or some primary element of a composed work's realization is left to the determination of its performer...

 by triggering a series of photoelectric cells underneath the chessboard.

Rrose Sélavy


"Rrose Sélavy", also spelled Rose Sélavy, was one of Duchamp's pseudonyms. The name, a pun
Pun
The pun, also called paronomasia, is a form of word play which suggests two or more meanings, by exploiting multiple meanings of words, or of similar-sounding words, for an intended humorous or rhetorical effect. These ambiguities can arise from the intentional use and abuse of homophonic,...

, sounds like the French phrase "Eros, c'est la vie", which may be translated as "Eros, such is life." It has also been read as "arroser la vie" ("to make a toast to life").

Sélavy emerged in 1921 in a series of photographs by Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray , born Emmanuel Radnitzky, was an American artist who spent most of his career in Paris, France. Perhaps best described simply as a modernist, he was a significant contributor to both the Dada and Surrealist movements, although his ties to each were informal...

 showing Duchamp dressed as a woman. Through the 1920s Man Ray and Duchamp collaborated on more photos of Sélavy. Duchamp later used the name as the byline on written material and signed several creations with it. These included at least one sculpture, Why Not Sneeze Rrose Sélavy?
Why Not Sneeze Rrose Sélavy?
Why not Sneeze, Rose Sélavy? is a 1921 "readymade" sculpture by Marcel Duchamp. Specifically, Duchamp considered this to be an "assisted Readymade", this being because the original object has been altered by the artist. The meaning of this is that the birdcage has been "assisted" by the addition of...

. The sculpture, a type of readymade
Readymades of Marcel Duchamp
The readymades of Marcel Duchamp are ordinary manufactured objects that the artist selected and modified, as an antidote to what he called "retinal art". By simply choosing the object and repositioning or joining, titling and signing it, the object became art...

 called an assemblage, consists of an oral
Mouth
The mouth is the first portion of the alimentary canal that receives food andsaliva. The oral mucosa is the mucous membrane epithelium lining the inside of the mouth....

 thermometer
Thermometer
Developed during the 16th and 17th centuries, a thermometer is a device that measures temperature or temperature gradient using a variety of different principles. A thermometer has two important elements: the temperature sensor Developed during the 16th and 17th centuries, a thermometer (from the...

, and several dozen small cubes of marble
Marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

 resembling sugar cubes inside a birdcage
Birdcage
A birdcage is a cage designed to house birds as pets.Antique birdcages are often popular as collectors' items or as household decor but most are not suitable for housing live birds, being too small, or of unsafe materials or construction...

.

The inspiration for the name "Rrose Sélavy" may have been Belle da Costa Greene
Belle da Costa Greene
Belle da Costa Greene was the librarian to J. P. Morgan and after his death in 1913, Belle continued as librarian under his son, Jack Morgan...

, J.P. Morgan's librarian of the Pierpont Morgan Library. Following the death of J.P. Morgan, Sr., Greene became the Library's director, working there for a total of forty-three years. Empowered by the Morgans, she built the library collection, buying and selling rare manuscripts, books and art.

Transition from art to chess

In 1918, Duchamp took leave of the New York art scene, interrupting his work on the Large Glass, and went to Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

, where he remained for nine months and often played chess
Chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

. He even carved from wood his own chess set, with the assistance of a local craftsman who made the knights
Knight (chess)
The knight is a piece in the game of chess, representing a knight . It is normally represented by a horse's head and neck. Each player starts with two knights, which begin on the row closest to the player, one square from the corner...

. He moved to Paris in 1919, and then back to the United States in 1920. Upon his return to Paris in 1923, Duchamp was, in essence, no longer a practicing artist although he did work on several projects towards his death. Instead, his main interest was now chess, which he studied for the rest of his life to the exclusion of most other activities.

Duchamp can be seen, very briefly, playing chess with Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray , born Emmanuel Radnitzky, was an American artist who spent most of his career in Paris, France. Perhaps best described simply as a modernist, he was a significant contributor to both the Dada and Surrealist movements, although his ties to each were informal...

 in the short film Entr'acte
Entr'acte (film)
Entr'acte is a 1924 French short film directed by René Clair, which premiered as an entr'acte for the Ballets Suédois production Relâche at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris. Relâche is based on a book and with settings by Francis Picabia, produced by Rolf de Maré, and with choreography by...

(1924) by René Clair
René Clair
René Clair born René-Lucien Chomette, was a French filmmaker.-Biography:He was born in Paris and grew up in the Les Halles quarter. He attended the Lycée Montaigne and the Lycée Louis-le-Grand. During World War I, he served as an ambulance driver. After the war, he started a career as a journalist...

. He designed the 1925 Poster for the Third French Chess Championship, and as a competitor in the event, finished at fifty percent (3–3, with two draws). Thus he earned the title of chess master
Chess master
A chess master is a chess player of such skill that he/she can usually beat chess experts, who themselves typically prevail against most amateurs. Among chess players, the term is often abbreviated to master, the meaning being clear from context....

. During this period his fascination with chess so distressed his first wife that she glued his pieces to the board
Chessboard
A chessboard is the type of checkerboard used in the board game chess, and consists of 64 squares arranged in two alternating colors...

. Duchamp continued to play in the French Championships and also in the Chess Olympiad
Chess Olympiad
The Chess Olympiad is a biennial chess tournament in which teams from all over the world compete against each other. The event is organised by FIDE, which selects the host nation.-Birth of the Olympiad:The first Olympiad was unofficial...

s from 1928–1933, favoring hypermodern
Hypermodernism (chess)
Hypermodernism is a school of chess that emerged after World War I. It featured challenges on the chess ideologies presented by central European masters, such as on Wilhelm Steinitz’ approach to the centre. It also challenged in particular the dogmatic rules set down by Siegbert Tarrasch...

 openings such as the Nimzo-Indian.

Sometime in the early 1930s, Duchamp reached the height of his ability, but realized that he had little chance of winning recognition in top-level chess. In following years, his participation in chess tournaments declined, but he discovered correspondence chess
Correspondence chess
Correspondence chess is chess played by various forms of long-distance correspondence, usually through a correspondence chess server, through email or by the postal system; less common methods which have been employed include fax and homing pigeon...

 and became a chess journalist, writing weekly newspaper columns. While his contemporaries were achieving spectacular success in the art world by selling their works to high-society collectors, Duchamp observed, "I am still a victim of chess. It has all the beauty of art—and much more. It cannot be commercialized. Chess is much purer than art in its social position." On another occasion, Duchamp elaborated, "The chess pieces are the block alphabet which shapes thoughts; and these thoughts, although making a visual design on the chess-board, express their beauty abstractly, like a poem. ... I have come to the personal conclusion that while all artists are not chess players, all chess players are artists."

In 1932, Duchamp teamed with chess theorist Vitaly Halberstadt
Vitaly Halberstadt
Vitaly Halberstadt was a French chess player, problemist and, above all, a noted endgame study composer.Born in Odessa, Russian Empire , he emigrated to France...

 to publish L'opposition et cases conjuguées sont réconciliées (Opposition
Opposition (chess)
In chess, opposition is the situation occurring when two kings face each other on a rank or file, with only one square in between them. In such a situation, the player not having to move is said to "have the opposition" . It is a special type of zugzwang and most often occurs in endgames with...

 and Sister Squares are Reconciled), known as corresponding squares
Corresponding squares
Corresponding squares in chess occur in some chess endgames, usually ones that are mostly blocked. If squares x and y are corresponding squares, it means that if one player moves to x then the other player must move to y in order to hold his position...

. This treatise describes the Lasker-Reichhelm position, an extremely rare type of position that can arise in the endgame. Using enneagram
Enneagram (geometry)
In geometry, an enneagram is a nine-pointed geometric figure. It is sometimes called a nonagram.-Regular enneagram:A regular enneagram is constructed using the same points as the regular enneagon but connected in fixed steps...

-like charts that fold upon themselves, the authors demonstrated that in this position, the most Black can hope for is a draw
Draw (chess)
In chess, a draw is when a game ends in a tie. It is one of the possible outcomes of a game, along with a win for White and a win for Black . Usually, in tournaments a draw is worth a half point to each player, while a win is worth one point to the victor and none to the loser.For the most part,...

.

The theme of the "endgame" is important to an understanding of Duchamp's complex attitude towards his artistic career. Irish playwright Samuel Beckett
Samuel Beckett
Samuel Barclay Beckett was an Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet. He wrote both in English and French. His work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human nature, often coupled with black comedy and gallows humour.Beckett is widely regarded as among the most...

 was an associate of Duchamp, and used the theme as the narrative device for the 1957 play of the same name, Endgame
Endgame (play)
Endgame, by Samuel Beckett, is a one-act play with four characters, written in a style associated with the Theatre of the Absurd. It was originally written in French ; as was his custom, Beckett himself translated it into English. The play was first performed in a French-language production at the...

In 1968, Duchamp played an artistically important chess match with avant-garde composer John Cage
John Cage
John Milton Cage Jr. was an American composer, music theorist, writer, philosopher and artist. A pioneer of indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music, and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde...

, at a concert entitled "Reunion." Music was produced by a series of photoelectric cells underneath the chessboard, triggered sporadically by normal game play.

On choosing a career in chess, Duchamp said, "If Bobby Fischer
Bobby Fischer
Robert James "Bobby" Fischer was an American chess Grandmaster and the 11th World Chess Champion. He is widely considered one of the greatest chess players of all time. Fischer was also a best-selling chess author...

 came to me for advice, I certainly would not discourage him—as if anyone could—but I would try to make it positively clear that he will never have any money from chess, live a monk-like existence and know more rejection than any artist ever has, struggling to be known and accepted." Duchamp left a legacy to chess in the form of an enigmatic endgame problem he composed in 1943. The problem was included in the announcement for Julian Lev's gallery exhibition "Through the Big End of the Opera Glass", printed on translucent paper with the faint inscription: "White to play and win." Grandmasters and endgame specialists have since grappled with the problem, with most concluding that there is no solution.

Artistic involvement and marriages

Although Duchamp was no longer considered to be an active artist, he continued to consult with artists, art dealers and collectors. From 1925 he often traveled between France and the United States, and made New York's Greenwich Village his home in 1942. He also occasionally worked on artistical projects such as the 1926 Anemic Cinema, Box in a Valise (1935–41), Self Portrait in Profile (1958) and the larger work Etant Donnés (1946–66).

In June 1927, Duchamp married Lydie Sarazin-Lavassor; however, they divorced six months later. It was rumored that Duchamp had chosen a marriage of convenience, because Sarazin-Lavassor was the daughter of a wealthy automobile manufacturer. Early in January 1928, Duchamp said that he could no longer bear the responsibility and confinement of marriage, and soon thereafter they were divorced.

From the mid-1930s onwards, he collaborated with the Surrealists
Surrealism
Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members....

, however, he did not join the movement despite the coaxing of André Breton
André Breton
André Breton was a French writer and poet. He is known best as the founder of Surrealism. His writings include the first Surrealist Manifesto of 1924, in which he defined surrealism as "pure psychic automatism"....

. From then until 1944, together with Max Ernst
Max Ernst
Max Ernst was a German painter, sculptor, graphic artist, and poet. A prolific artist, Ernst was one of the primary pioneers of the Dada movement and Surrealism.-Early life:...

, Eugenio Granell
Eugenio Granell
Eugenio Granell was an artist often described as the last Spanish Surrealist painter.Born in A Coruña in the autonomous community of Galicia, Eugenio Fernández Granell started out as a political radical and a musician...

 and Breton
André Breton
André Breton was a French writer and poet. He is known best as the founder of Surrealism. His writings include the first Surrealist Manifesto of 1924, in which he defined surrealism as "pure psychic automatism"....

, Duchamp edited the Surrealist periodical VVV, and also served as an advisory editor for the magazine View
View (magazine)
View was an American literary and art magazine published from 1940 to 1947 by artist and writer Charles Henri Ford, and writer and film critic Parker Tyler. The magazine is best known for introducing Surrealism to the American public....

, which featured him in its March 1945 edition, thus introducing him to a broader American audience.

In 1954, he and Alexina "Teeny" Sattler
Alexina Duchamp
Alexina "Teeny" Duchamp was the second wife of artist and chess player, Marcel Duchamp.-Background:She was born Alexina Sattler in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1906...

 married, and they remained together until his death. Duchamp became a United States citizen in 1955.

His influence on the art world remained behind the scenes until the late 1950s, when he was "discovered" by young artists such as Robert Rauschenberg
Robert Rauschenberg
Robert Rauschenberg was an American artist who came to prominence in the 1950s transition from Abstract Expressionism to Pop Art. Rauschenberg is well-known for his "Combines" of the 1950s, in which non-traditional materials and objects were employed in innovative combinations...

 and Jasper Johns
Jasper Johns
Jasper Johns, Jr. is an American contemporary artist who works primarily in painting and printmaking.-Life:Born in Augusta, Georgia, Jasper Johns spent his early life in Allendale, South Carolina with his paternal grandparents after his parents' marriage failed...

, who were eager to escape the dominance of Abstract Expressionism
Abstract expressionism
Abstract expressionism was an American post–World War II art movement. It was the first specifically American movement to achieve worldwide influence and put New York City at the center of the western art world, a role formerly filled by Paris...

. He was a co-founder of the international literary group Oulipo
Oulipo
Oulipo is a loose gathering of French-speaking writers and mathematicians which seeks to create works using constrained writing techniques. It was founded in 1960 by Raymond Queneau and François Le Lionnais...

 in 1960.

Interest in Duchamp was reignited in the 1960s, and he gained international public recognition. 1963 saw his first retrospective exhibition at the Pasadena Art Museum, and in 1966 the Tate Gallery
Tate Gallery
The Tate is an institution that houses the United Kingdom's national collection of British Art, and International Modern and Contemporary Art...

 hosted a large exhibit of his work. Other major institutions, including the Philadelphia Art Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a renowned art museum in New York City. Its permanent collection contains more than two million works, divided into nineteen curatorial departments. The main building, located on the eastern edge of Central Park along Manhattan's Museum Mile, is one of the...

, followed, with large showings of Duchamp's work. He was invited to lecture on art and to participate in formal discussions, as well as sitting for interviews with major publications.

As the last surviving member of the Duchamp family of artists, in 1967 Duchamp helped to organize an exhibition in Rouen, France, called "Les Duchamp: Jacques Villon, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Marcel Duchamp, Suzanne Duchamp." Parts of this family exhibition were later shown again at the Musée National d'Art Moderne
Musée National d'Art Moderne
The Musée National d'Art Moderne is the national museum for modern art of France. It is located in Paris and is housed in the Centre Pompidou in the 4th arrondissement of the city. Created in 1947, it was then housed in the Palais de Tokyo and moved to its current location in 1977...

 in Paris.

Exhibition design

Duchamp was the designer of the 1938 International Surrealist Exhibition, which was held at the Gallerie des Beaux-arts, Paris. The show featured more than 60 artists from different countries, including approximately 300 paintings, objects, collages, photographs and installations.

The surrealists wanted to create an exhibition which in itself would be a creative act, and called on Duchamp to do so. At the exhibition's entrance he placed Salvador Dalí
Salvador Dalí
Salvador Domènec Felip Jacint Dalí i Domènech, Marquis de Púbol , commonly known as Salvador Dalí , was a prominent Spanish Catalan surrealist painter born in Figueres,Spain....

's Rainy Taxi
Rainy Taxi
Rainy Taxi, also known as Mannequin Rotting in a Taxi-Cab, is a three dimensional artwork created by Salvador Dalí, consisting of an actual automobile with two mannequin occupants. A male chauffeur is in the front seat, and a female sits in the back seat. A system of pipes causes "rainfall"...

 This work consisted of a taxicab rigged to produce a drizzle of water down the inside of the windows, a shark-headed creature in the driver's seat, and a blond mannequin crawling with live snails in the back. In this way Duchamp greeted entering patrons, who were in full evening dress.

Surrealist Street filled one side of the lobby with mannequins dressed by various surrealists. The main hall was a simulation of a dark subterranean cave with 1,200 coal bags suspended from the ceiling. Illumination was provided only by a single light bulb, so patrons were given flashlights with which to view the art.

An installation by Wolfgang Paalen
Wolfgang Paalen
Wolfgang Paalen was an Austrian-Mexican painter and theorist.-Early life:Wolfgang Paalen was born in Vienna in 1905, as the first of four sons of the Austrian-Jewish merchant and inventor Gustav Robert Paalen, and his German wife, the actress Clothilde Emilie Gunkel...

 was composed of oak leaves and a water-filled pond with water lilies and reeds, while the aroma of roasting coffee filled the air. Around midnight, the visitors witnessed the dancing shimmer of a sparsely dressed girl who suddenly arose from the reeds, jumped on a bed, shrieked hysterically, then disappeared just as quickly. Much to the surrealists' satisfaction the exhibition scandalized the viewers.

In 1942, for the First Papers of Surrealism show in New York, surrealists again called on Duchamp to design the exhibition. This time he wove a three-dimensional web of string throughout the rooms of the space, in some cases making it almost impossible to see the works. Duchamp made a secret arrangement with an associate's son to bring young friends to the opening of the show. When the finely dressed patrons arrived, they found a dozen children in athletic clothes kicking and passing balls, and skipping rope. When questioned, the children were told to say "Mr. Duchamp told us we could play here." Duchamp's design of the catalog for the show included "found", rather than posed, photographs of the artists.

Etant donnés

Duchamp's final major art work surprised the art world that believed he had given up art for chess 25 years earlier. Entitled Etant donnés
Étant donnés
Étant donnés is Marcel Duchamp's last major art work which surprised most of the art world who believed he'd given up art for chess almost 25 years earlier...

: 1° la chute d'eau / 2° le gaz d'éclairage
("Given: 1. The Waterfall, 2. The Illuminating Gas"), it is a tableau, visible only through a peep hole in a wooden door.http://www.toutfait.com/issues/issue_2/Notes/pop_1.html A nude woman can be seen lying on her back with her face hidden, legs spread, and one hand holding a gas lamp in the air against a landscape backdrop.http://www.toutfait.com/issues/issue_2/Notes/pop_2.html Duchamp had worked secretly on the piece from 1946 to 1966 in his Greenwich Village
Greenwich Village
Greenwich Village, , , , .in New York often simply called "the Village", is a largely residential neighborhood on the west side of Lower Manhattan in New York City. A large majority of the district is home to upper middle class families...

 studio while even his closest friends thought he had abandoned art.

Death and burial

Marcel Duchamp died on 2 October 1968 in Neuilly-sur-Seine
Neuilly-sur-Seine
Neuilly-sur-Seine is a commune in the western suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the center of Paris.Although Neuilly is technically a suburb of Paris, it is immediately adjacent to the city and directly extends it. The area is composed of mostly wealthy, select residential...

, France, and is buried in the Rouen Cemetery, in Rouen
Rouen
Rouen , in northern France on the River Seine, is the capital of the Haute-Normandie region and the historic capital city of Normandy. Once one of the largest and most prosperous cities of medieval Europe , it was the seat of the Exchequer of Normandy in the Middle Ages...

, France. His grave bears the epitaph, "D'ailleurs, c'est toujours les autres qui meurent;" or "Besides, it's always other people who die."

Legacy

A quotation erroneously attributed to Duchamp suggests a negative attitude toward later trends in 20th-century art:
However, this was actually written in 1961 by fellow Dadaist Hans Richter
Hans Richter (artist)
Hans Richter was a painter, graphic artist, avant-gardist, film-experimenter and producer. He was born in Berlin into a well-to-do family and died in Minusio, near Locarno, Switzerland.-Germany:...

, in the second person, i.e. "You threw the bottle-rack...". Although a marginal note in the letter suggests that Duchamp generally approved of the statement, Richter did not make the distinction clear until many years later.

Duchamp's attitude was actually more favorable, as evidenced by another statement made in 1964:
The Prix Marcel Duchamp
Marcel Duchamp Prize
The Marcel Duchamp Prize is an annual award given to a young artist. The winner receives €35,000 personally and up to €30,000 in order to produce an exhibition of their work in the Modern Art museum...

 (Marcel Duchamp Prize), established in 2000, is an annual award given to a young artist by the Centre Georges Pompidou
Centre Georges Pompidou
Centre Georges Pompidou is a complex in the Beaubourg area of the 4th arrondissement of Paris, near Les Halles, rue Montorgueil and the Marais...

. In 2004, as a testimony to the legacy of Duchamp's work to the art world, his Fountain was voted "the most influential artwork of the 20th century" by a panel of prominent artists and art historians.

See also

  • Anti-art
    Anti-art
    Anti-art is a loosely-used term applied to an array of concepts and attitudes that reject prior definitions of art and question art in general. Anti-art tends to conduct this questioning and rejection from the vantage point of art...

  • History of painting
    History of painting
    The history of painting reaches back in time to artifacts from pre-historic humans, and spans all cultures. It represents a continuous, though periodically disrupted tradition from Antiquity. Across cultures, and spanning continents and millennia, the history of painting is an ongoing river of...

  • Shock art
    Shock art
    Shock art is contemporary art that incorporates disturbing imagery, sound or scents to create a shocking experience. While the art form's proponents argue that it is "embedded with social commentary" and most critics dismiss it as "cultural pollution", it is an increasingly marketable art,...

  • Western painting
    Western painting
    The history of Western painting represents a continuous, though disrupted, tradition from antiquity. Until the mid-19th century it was primarily concerned with representational and Classical modes of production, after which time more modern, abstract and conceptual forms gained favor.Developments...

  • Gustave Courbet
    Gustave Courbet
    Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet was a French painter who led the Realist movement in 19th-century French painting. The Realist movement bridged the Romantic movement , with the Barbizon School and the Impressionists...


Further reading

  • Arturo Schwarz, The Complete Works of Marcel Duchamp, Delano Greenidge Editions, 1995
  • Linda Dalrymple Henderson, Duchamp in Context: Science and Technology in the Large Glass and Related Works, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1998
  • Paola Magi, Caccia al tesoro con Marcel Duchamp, Edizioni Archivio Dedalus, Milano, 2010, ISBN 9788890474804
  • Paola Magi: Treasure Hunt With Marcel Duchamp, Edizioni Archivio Dedalus, Milano, 2011, ISBN 9788890474873
  • Marc Décimo: Marcel Duchamp mis à nu. A propos du processus créatif (Marcel Duchamp Stripped Bare. Apropos of the creative Act), Les presses du réel, Dijon (France), 2004 ISBN 9782840661191.
  • Marc Décimo:The Marcel Duchamp Library, perhaps (La Bibliothèque de Marcel Duchamp, peut-être), Les presses du réel, Dijon (France), 2002.
  • Marc Décimo, Le Duchamp facile, Les presses du réel, coll. « L'écart absolu / Poche", Dijon, 2005
  • Marc Décimo (dir.), Marcel Duchamp et l'érotisme, Les presses du réel, coll. « L'écart absolu / Chantier », Dijon, 2008
  • T.J. Demos, The Exiles of Marcel Duchamp, Cambridge, MIT Press, 2007.
  • Lydie Fischer Sarazin-Levassor, A Marriage in Check. The Heart of the Bride Stripped by her Bachelor, even, Les presses du réel, Dijon (France), 2007.
  • J-T. Richard, "M. Duchamp mis à nu par la psychanalyse, même" (M. Duchamp stripped bare even by psychoanalysis), éd. L'Harmattan, Paris (France), 2010.

External links

Duchamp works
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art
    Philadelphia Museum of Art
    The Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the largest art museums in the United States. It is located at the west end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park. The Museum was established in 1876 in conjunction with the Centennial Exposition of the same year...

     houses the Arensbergs' large collection of Duchamp's work. (website)
  • The Israel Museum
    Israel Museum
    The Israel Museum, Jerusalem was founded in 1965 as Israel's national museum. It is situated on a hill in the Givat Ram neighborhood of Jerusalem, near the Bible Lands Museum, the Knesset, the Israeli Supreme Court, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem....

     has many of Duchamp's works in its Vera and Arturo Schwarz Collection of Dada and Surrealist Art. (website)
  • An explanation about the "Roue de bicyclette" by Duchamp (website)
  • Dossier : Marcel Duchamp, Centre Pompidou



Essays by Duchamp

General resources

Essays about Duchamp

Audio and video
  • Voices of Dada, Futurism & Dada Reviewed and Surrealism Reviewed – readings by Duchamp on the audio CDs
  • UbuWeb – Music, lectures, and film
  • Duchamp's Legacy with Richard Hamilton
    Richard Hamilton (artist)
    Richard William Hamilton, CH was a British painter and collage artist. His 1956 collage, Just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing?, produced for the This Is Tomorrow exhibition of the Independent Group in London, is considered by critics and historians to be one of the...

     and Sarat Maharaj from Tate Britain
    Tate Britain
    Tate Britain is an art gallery situated on Millbank in London, and part of the Tate gallery network in Britain, with Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives. It is the oldest gallery in the network, opening in 1897. It houses a substantial collection of the works of J. M. W. Turner.-History:It...

    . (RealPlayer
    RealPlayer
    RealPlayer is a cross-platform media player by RealNetworks that plays a number of multimedia formats including MP3, MPEG-4, QuickTime, Windows Media, and multiple versions of proprietary RealAudio and RealVideo formats.-History:...

     required.)
  • Audio of Marcel Duchamp's 'Some texts from "A l'infinitif"' (1912–20). Recorded by Aspen magazine (4:00) published on the Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine
    Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine
    Launched from the Lower East Side, Manhattan, in 1983 as a subscription only bimonthly publication, the Tellus cassette series took full advantage of the popular cassette medium to promote cutting-edge downtown music, documenting the New York scene and advancing experimental composers of the time...

     @ Ubuweb
    UbuWeb
    UbuWeb is a large web-based educational resource for avant-garde material available on the internet, founded in 1996 by poet Kenneth Goldsmith. It offers visual, concrete and sound poetry, expanding to include film and sound art mp3 archives.-Philosophy:...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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