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Marcel Duchamp

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French Dadaist Marcel Duchamp was an influential figure in the development of 20th century avant-garde, causing a stir with innovations in the visual arts with his sculpture and painting, but he also utilized chance operations in composing. Starting as a painter influenced by fauvism, Duchamp developed a cubist painting style similar to futurism. His most famous painting, Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 (1912), featured successive images of a body, giving the impression of movement; the painting was quite controversial at the 1913 Armory Show in N.Y.C. Following this, Duchamp painted less, but still completed 20 works in all, including Tu m' (1918), which mixed painted objects with real. Around the same time as the Armory Show, Duchamp was also introducing ready-made art (sculptures that are simply ordinary objects, signed and displayed) and kinetic art, such as his Bicycle Wheel (1913) mounted on a stool. His acknowledged masterpiece is The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (1923), also known as The Large Glass; an abstract work using wire and foil between glass. Although he turned his attention from painting to chess in the early '20s, he created one last work years later, the Etant Donnes (1946-1949). ~ Joslyn Layne

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July 28, 1887 in Blainville, France

Years Active:

'10s, '50s, '60s