Duchamp, Marcel (1887-1968) by Scholes, Robert

Marcel Duchamp (1887 – 1968) He was born in Blainville, brother of the artist Raymond Duchamp-Villon and half brother of the painter Jacques Villon, and began to paint in 1908. He has been called a “French/American Dadaist/Surrealist Conceptual Artist,” but his paintings were getting attention before he became associated with Dada. His early works are somewhere between symbolism and fauvism. Two of them were noticed at the Autumn Salon in 1911 by Huntly Carter, who wrote about his work , getting his first name wrong: NA 10.2:36 Next the extraordinary studies by Fran├žais Duchamp will explain my meaning of crystallisation. This painter’s “Portrait” and “Jeune Homme et Jeune Fille” are studies in light crystallized into different forms having different meanings. Here the feeling of life and the play of light are tremendous. And the two figures rising and expanding in the very subtle and mellow amber tone are the incarnation of internal ecstasy. He seems to have been influenced by futurism in his most famous work, Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2, completed in 1912; portraying continuous movement through a chain of overlapping cubistic figures, which caused a furor at New York City’s Armory Show in 1913. It sold for $324. He also became notorious for his “ready-made” called Fountain–a urinal turned upside down.

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