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Marcel Duchamp Gallery     Prints.     Full biography.
Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968)
Marcel Duchamp, a painter, sculptor and author, was associated with Cubism, Dadaism and Surrealism. Duchampís work is characterized by humor, a wide variety of media, and its incessant probing of the boundaries of art. His legacy includes the insight that art can be about ideas instead of objects.
Nude Descending a Staircase
Passage
Bride
Bicycle Wheel
Stoppages

Viewer

Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2)
1912 Oil on canvas 57 7/8" x 35 1/8"
This painting created a sensation when it was exhibited in New York in February 1913 at the historic Armory Show of contemporary art, where perplexed Americans saw it as representing all the tricks they felt European artists were playing at their expense.

The picture's outrageousness surely lay in its seemingly mechanical portrayal of a subject at once so sensual and time-honored. The Nude's destiny as a symbol also stemmed from its remarkable aggregation of avant-garde concerns: the birth of cinema; the Cubists' fracturing of form; the Futurists' depiction of movement; and the redefinitions of time and space by scientists and philosophers.

The painting was bought directly from the Armory Show for three hundred dollars by a San Francisco dealer. Marcel Duchamp's great collector-friend Walter Arensberg was able to buy the work in 1927, eleven years after Duchamp had obligingly made him a hand-colored, actual-size photographic copy. Today both the copy and the original, together with a preparatory study, are owned by the Museum.
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