Marcel Duchamp

Marcel, born Henri-Robert-Marcel Duchamp was born July 28, 1887, near Blainville, France. At a young age he joined his brothers, Jacques Villon and Raymond Duchamp in Paris where he studied painting at the Academie Julian until 1905. His early work was Post-Impressionist in style and in 1909 he exhibited for the first time at the Salon des Independents and at the Salon d’Automne in Paris. During the period from 1911 to 1913 his style was directly related to cubism yet emphasized successive images of a single body in motion. In 1913 his work, Nude Descending a Staircase caused great Controversy at the Armory Show.

Marcel’s work predated the founding of the Dada movement in Zurich in 1916. In 1913 he abandoned his traditional style of painting and drawing for various experimental forms. These forms would have a great impact on many painters and sculptors.

By 1915 his circle included Man Ray, with whom he founded the Societe Anonyme in 1920.
Not only was Marcel Duchamp a painter, he was an avid chess player. He traveled to Buenos Aires and remained there for nine months and it was upon his return to Paris in 1919 that he became associated with the Dada group in Paris. He spent a few years in New York where he created his first motor-driven constructions and invented his feminine alter ego, Rose Selavy. He spent his time between playing chess and art. During the 1930’s he collaborated with the Surrealists and participated in many exhibitions.

He settled permanently in New York and became a United States citizen in 1955.
He died October 2, 1968 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.


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