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Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp subject = art 101 title = Marcel Duchamp Marcel Duchamp is considered as one of the most influential artists of the 20th Century by the modern art world. Duchamp, who participated in artistic movements from Fauvism to Surrealism, was an innovator and a revolutionary within the art world. Duchamp, being a founding force in the Dada movement, was also a main influencing factor of the development of the 20th Century avant-garde art. All in all Duchamp has become a legend within the art world. Marcel Duchamp was born on July 28,1887 in Blainville France.

Being the brother of two prominent artists, Raymond Duchamp-Villon and Jacques Villon, it seemed only natural that the young Marcel Duchamp would participate in the arts. Also, his childhood home was abundantly decorated with seascapes, landscapes, and etchings produced by his grandfather Emile-Frederic Nicolle. As he himself put it, When you see so many paintings youve got to paint. In 1907, at age 17, Duchamp resolved to become an artist. Marcel Duchamp had the great fortune of entering the world of art at a most exciting time when the birth of Fauvism and Cubism was in the not so distant future.

Although Marcel incorporated these styles he was never satisfied with any single style. He felt that styles were learned techniques which put creativity, exploration, and imagination in the background of the art scene. Duchamps view of the lack of creativity and originality may have prompted many of his later creations which, at the time of their production, seemed absurd. Throughout Marcel Duchamps career he dabbled in a wide variety of styles ranging from Fauvism to Cubism, all the way to the art of Ready-mades. Although he openly expressed that painting bored him, he did it quite well. Early in his career he, like most young artists, painted friends and family, things he was familiar with. Duchamps only formal training came at the Academie Julian in Paris from where he dropped out after only eighteen months to pursue his own interests.

This seems to be a defining characteristic of Marcel Duchamps career, he did things that suited him, not what others felt was the correct thing to do. Marcel Duchamps artistic output began with portraits of people close to him such as family members and close friends. At this time Duchamp was experimenting with Fauvism, the art of the wild beasts. In this from of art one could use arbitrary colors. This is the reason one might see portraits made by Duchamp from around 1910 in which people are represented with greenish skin or blue hair. Throughout Duchamps career it was not as important to be totally accurate as it was to get a creative point or theme across.

One negative view of Fauvism was that it was not intellectually stimulating for artists. This is a main reason why many artists, one of them being Duchamp, turned their artistic focus the avant-garde. Cubism, with complex planes and geometrically sound shapes gave artists the intellectual stimulation that they craved. Colors of the early cubist period were muted which put the spotlight more on the visual effects of the art. The possibilities of manipulation of the shapes to Duchamps own interests benefited him immensely.

Duchamp prospered as he turned away from the conservative Fauvism moving towards the avant-garde and experimentation within the cubist mode of art. He discovered ways to manipulate his paintings to be able to show the intricacies of his favorite game chess. Duchamp believed that art should be left up to the mind rather than the eyes, just as in chess. His first production of the Cubist origin is titled The Sonata. It is said that many of the characteristics of this painting reveal influence from a group of Cubist artists, which included his two brothers, called the Puteaux Cubists.

This group of artists rebelled against casual cubism ,which was practiced by the likes of Picasso and Braque, in favor of geometric precision. Duchamp was a pioneer in Cubism by the way he showed movement in his paintings. His first attempt at showing movement through the geometric shapes is titled Sad Young Man On A Train. In this work Duchamp uses four or five overlapping profiles moving from left to right across the canvas. The colors were dark symbolizing Duchamps mood at the time.

He was preparing to leave Paris in favor of, what he believed to be a less commercial area, Munich. In another attempt at movement in Cubism, Duchamp created a painting known as Nude Descending A Staircase No.1. In viewing this work, the first version of one of his most famous works, one can see the motion is much more explicit. This painting and its other version was a combination of cubism and a play on futurism. In the second version of this work, Nude Descending A Staircase No.

2, Duchamp further developed and refined the movement of the piece through the use of swirling lines and arced dots. When the painting was introduced in Europe the Puteaux Cubists reac ted violently which ended Marcels affiliation with the group. When the painting was shown in America at the New York Armory Show in 1912 the American critics reacted quite the same as that of those in Europe. Although the painting was very much criticized at the time, four decades after it was unveiled people began to refer to Nude Descending A Staircase No.2 as a masterpiece. After Duchamp completed his painting of Nude Descending A Staircase No.2 he ventured to Munich where he started such projects as a watercolor titled Virgin and two mastery oils titled Bride and Passage From the Virgin to the Bride.

He also began to sketch what was to be a project of his for the next decade of his life, The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even. The effects of two of Duchamps paintings at this time, Virgin and later in Passage From the Virgin to the Bride, he ventured into uncharted artistic territory with the use of Cubist techniques but the effect was not cubist at all. The images were unusual and almost machine-like in form. Duchamp had created a new form of art but, as he tended to do, he abandoned the form in favor of letting others develop his ideas. This virtually closed Marcel Duchamps career as a painter.

In 1915, at age 25, Duchamp moved to New York taking him out of the world of conventional painting. Duchamp became bored with retinal art, art for the eye alone. He wanted to remove himself from all his previous ties with painting in order to produce something different and new. One idea he had to produce something different was to execute his workings on glass instead of the traditional canvas surface. This would certainly be different but the art would still be the same, and Duchamp recognized this. His answer to this problem was a new technique of drawing which was derived from an engineering method called mechanical drawing. Although this now seems to be quite ordinary, at the time it was a major breakthrough in the art industry.

Now, with a new idea at hand, Marcel began to derive the ways in which he would develop this new style. To carry out the task of drawing unlike your hand tells you to Duchamp said he had to unlearn to draw to execute his new ideas and technique. In a manner of speaking this is what he did. Duchamp first experimented with the media which was to be used on the glass. At first he used paraffin fluoridic acid as an engraving tool for the glass.

The fumes were quite strong and he quickly gave that up. Next, he tried outlining his design with fine wire which would serve to keep colors in place. This was perfect for Duchamps needs. The wire kept the colors neatly in place while it could be manipulated to make lines as straight or wavy as he desired. As difficult as this task was to execute, Marcel Duchamp was satisfied.

Now that he had the tools and ideas Marcel could begin his work. He completed a work known as Glider which was ultimately produced to be employed into his later work referred to as The Large Glass or more formally named The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even. Glider ,or Sleigh as it is sometimes referred to as, was produced as a part of the Bachelor Machine which was a main part of the Large Glass. Although the Large Glass was Duchamps primary project in the mid 1910s he did venture into other controversial subjects. In 1914 Duchamp signed his name to a bottle rack in effect creating his first ready-made.

Ready-mades are objects that are signed and titled becoming more an object of observation rather than a functional one. The ready-mades were an attack on traditional western art. Duchamp felt that any man-made object was a work of art therefore treating them as such by signing his name on them and displaying these objects. This type of art was an instrumental part of the artistic movement known as Dada which Duchamp was a main contributor to. In addition to Bottle Rack Marcel Duchamp produced controversy with other ready-mades.

Two of the better well know ready-mades were In Advance of the Broken Arm and Fountain. In Advance of the Broken Arm was the first American ready-made. This work of art was a shovel, bought in a Columbus Avenue hardware store, which had been signed and hung from the ceiling. In 1917 Fountain was scheduled for display at an art show put on by a group in which Duchamp helped found, The Society of Independent Artists. Although the showing was supposedly to have no restrictions on content the committee refused to show Fountain which was simply a urinal signed under the name of R.Mutt.

Duchamp also pioneered another form of art known as kinetic art. Kinetic art, for our purposes, is art which employed actual movement. In 1913 Duchamp employed the fro …