Marcel Duchamp

1887 - 1968 · France

Artist biography

Marcel Duchamp was born in the Normandy region of Blainville-Crevon in 1887. He was a painter, sculptor and writer associated with some of the avant-garde movements like cubism or dadaism, even if he was cautious about associating his image to Dadaist groups. Duchamp rejected most of the conventional art of his time and created art that would please the mind.

Born in a family with great artistic sensibilities, Marcel Duchamp engaged in several creative family activities such as writing, painting or composing music. This upbringing explains why four of the seven siblings of the artist chose to go for a career in the arts as well. His brother Jacques Villon was probably his biggest influence while growing up and mentored him into the arts.

His initial style was post-impressionist, being particularly inspired by Symbolist painter Odilon Redon. He attended the private art school Académie Julian in Paris, although he didn’t enjoy the teaching and spent his time in the billiards. Some of his first exhibitions were hosted by the prestigious Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture in 1908 and in the Salon des Indépendants in 1909.

His art was usually provoking being his first provocative painting Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2, a piece so controversial which was asked to be removed by the self-proclaimed founder of Cubism, Albert Gleizes. After this bitter experience the artist decided not to belong to any group of artists.

Société Anonyme was created in 1920 by Marcel Duchamp, Katherine Dreier and Man Ray. The group was created to collect modern art works, arranged modern art exhibitions and lectures throughout the 1930s.

The artist worked over 8 years in his piece the Art Glass also known as The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors. He completed the piece on two panes of glass with materials such as lead foil, fuse wire, and dust. The artwork was supposed to portray a newly wed bride with nine bachelors. Marcel Duchamp was also musically trained and composed three musical pieces.

Marcel Duchamp produced art throughout his entire life and became a US citizen in 1955. Duchamp died the 2nd of October of1968 at his home in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. After an evening with friends, Duchamp retired to his studio where he collapsed and died of heart failure.

Marcel Duchamp

  • Exhibitions 11

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