Duchamp, Marcel

PAINTER, VISUAL ARTIST (FRANCE)
BORN 28 Jul 1887, Blainville-Crevon (near Rouen) - DIED 2 Oct 1968, Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine
REAL NAME Duchamp, Henri Robert Marcel
GRAVE LOCATION Rouen, Seine-Maritime: Cimetière Monumentale, Avenue Olivier de Serres (carré L, 19th rank)

Younger brother of the painter Jacques Villon and of the sculptor Raymond Duchamp-Villon. He started painting in a neo-impressionist style in 1902, but later he switched to cubism and futurism. In 1904 he followed his brothers to Paris, where he was educated at the Académie Julian. During the beginning of his career he frequently drew cartoons for magazines.

In 1911 he met the painter Picabia, who became a friend for life. By 1913 he was involved in dadaism. His paintings didn't sell, and he accepted a job as assistant librarian at Sainte-Geneviève, where Picabia's uncle Maurice Davanne was director.

By 1914 he became the first artist to present industrially produced goods as works of art and these objects trouvées (or Ready-Mades, as he called them) made him famous.

Because of a weak heart he wasn't forced to join the army during the First World War. Instead he moved to New York in 1915, where his "Fountain" (which was an urinal) was refused by an exposition in 1917 because it wasn't taken seriously. In 2004 however, it was elected the most influential work of art of the 20th century.

In 1923 he declared his work "La Mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires" unfinished. He had started it in 1915 and now turned his attention from art to chess. He was mad about chess and became an International Master. In 1927 his bride Lydie Sarazin-Lavassor glued his chess pieces to the board because he used their honeymoon to study chess. They divorced after three months. In 1932 he wrote a chess book together with V. Halberstadt, "L'Opposition et les cases conjuguées sont réconciliées" (1932).

He returned to France and stayed there until the Germans occupied the country and then left for the United States once more. In 1954 he married Alexina Sattler in New York. She had divorced Pierre Matisse, a son of Henri Matisse. In 1955 he became an American citizen. Until his dead he secretly worked on an installation titled "Etant donnés: 1. la chute d'eau/2. le gaz d'éclairage".

Related persons
• was a friend of Apollinaire, Guillaume
• knew Bourgeois, Louise
• was a friend of Brancusi, Constantin
• cooperated with Man Ray
• admired Roussel, Raymond

Sources
Schilderkunst van A tot Z, REBO, Lisse, 1990
• Adler, Josef, Handbuch der Grabstätten, 2. Band, Die Grabstätte der Europäer, Deutsches Kunstverlag, München, 1986
• Beyern, Bertrand, Guide des Cimetières en France, Le Cherche Midi Éditeur, Paris, 1994
Chess Trivia
BBC - Programmes categorised as Factual: History
Kunstbus

Images

The grave of Marchel Duchamp at the Cimetière Monumentale, Rouen.
Picture by Androom (29 Aug 2001)

 


Duchesne, Ernest

Published: 9 Apr 2007
Last update: 29 Jun 2008