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La mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires, même (La boîte verte)

La mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires, même (La boîte verte)

Marcel Duchamp (in 1934)

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Title La mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires, même (La boîte verte)
Material and technique Letter press, offset, felt and cardboard
Object type
Facsimile > Reproduction > Derived object > Art object
Location This object is in storage
Dimensions Width Error: 28,2 is not a valid BCD value cm
Height Error: 33,4 is not a valid BCD value cm
Depth Error: 2,6 is not a valid BCD value cm
Artists Artist: Marcel Duchamp
Publisher: Editions Rrose Sélavy
Accession number MB 1990/2 1-15 (MK)
Credits Purchase Stichting Fonds Willem van Rede. On permanent loan from the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, 1990
Department Modern Art
Acquisition date 1990
Creation date in 1934
Collector Collector / W. van Rede
Provenance Tristan Tzara, Paris 1954; Kent Fine Art Inc., New York 1990
Exhibitions Amsterdam 1938*; Pasadena 1963; London 1966; Philadelphia/New York/Chicago 1973-74; Rotterdam 1996a; Rotterdam 1998a; London/Rotterdam/Bilbao 2007-2008; Rotterdam 2013-14b; Rotterdam 2017a
External exhibitions Surrealist Art - Masterpieces from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (2021)
A Surreal Shock – Masterpieces from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (2021)
Only the Marvelous is Beautiful (2022)
A Surreal Shock. Masterpieces from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (2023)
Dalí, Magritte, Man Ray and Surrealism. Highlights from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (2023)
Research Show research A dream collection - Surrealism in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
Literature Hamilton/Duchamp 1960; New York/Philadelphia 1973, p. 303, cat. no. 155; Bonk 1989, pp. 198-201; Cabanne 1991, pp. 47-51; Castleman 1994, p. 140, fig. 78; De Jonge 1995, p. 51; Tomkins 1997, p. 537; Dalrymple 1998, pp. 368-74; Duchamp/Buwalda 1998, pp. 14-93; Naumann 1999, pp. 111-19; New York 1999, pp. 113-17; Schwarz 2000, pp. 723-24, cat. no. 435; Von Berswordt-Wallrabe 2003, 102-05; Rotterdam 2017, p. 334
Letterpress > Manual > Relief printing techniques > Printing technique > Technique > Material and technique
Offset print > Mechanical > Planographic printing > Printing technique > Technique > Material and technique
Geographical origin France > Western Europe > Europe

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Entry catalogue A dream collection - Surrealism in Museum Boijmans Van beuningen

Author: Bert Jansen

Marcel Duchamp, 'La mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires, même (Le Grand Verre)', 1915-23, oil, varnish, lead foil, lead wire and dust on two glass panels, 277.5 x 177.8 x 8.6 cm. Philadelphia Museum of Art

Initially, Marcel Duchamp painted in a Cubist style, but in 1912, after his painting Nu descendant un escalier 2 (1911-12) was criticized by members of the artists’ collective Section d’Or, he decided to take a different approach. From then on he recorded his thoughts and associations on paper for what was to be an all-encompassing artwork: La mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires, même (Le Grand Verre). Eventually he selected ninety-three notes, sketches, technical designs and reproductions and combined them in La boîte verte. Le Grand Verre was to provide an image of the sexual power of attraction between man and woman and of the promise of an act of lovemaking that will not be kept. In the work preliminary painted studies made earlier come together with new forms that he applied to a background of transparent glass. In so doing, Duchamp wanted to emphasize the timeless and mythical character of the image, as an illusory moment between the third and fourth dimensions. Duchamp did not start constructing it until 1915, when he was in New York; before that the work had consisted only of preliminary drawings.

Le Grand Verre is in two parts: the bachelors below and the bride above. They are separated from one another by three glass plates. For the bachelors it is the horizon above which they project a bride; for the bride the floor on which she has dropped her wedding dress. For both, the glass plates act like the radiator grille of a car. Sexual power of attraction and anxiety are depicted as mechanized energy, as the attraction and repulsion of the poles of a magnet. The notes present a poetic science fiction story full of associative inventions, puns and references to the technological developments of the time. The development of ideas and construction took a great deal of time and Duchamp revised his plans several times.

Duchamp worked on Le Grand Verre until 1923. In that year he signed the work even though it was still not finished. He regarded La boîte verte with notes as an essential adjunct to Le Grand Verre and the decision to publish them should be interpreted as completing it. He got the idea for publication in 1934 after earlier suggestions made by André Breton and the poet Pierre de Massot. He explained his decision as follows: ‘to put painting once again at the service of the mind’.[1] With the publication in La boîte verte the preliminary texts took on the character of a key to the symbols on a map, explaining the flows of energy between the bride and the bachelors with poetic metaphors. Viewed thus, it is also possible to regard Le Grand Verre itself as a reproducible illustration of the text. A year later this reproductive interpretation of his work would lead to La boîte-en-valise, in which Duchamp would bring together his oeuvre to date in the form of miniature reproductions.




[1] Duchamp quoted in Sweeney 1946, p. 20 ff.

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All about the artist

Marcel Duchamp

Blainville-Crevon 1887 - Neuilly-sur-Seine 1968

Marcel Duchamp can be considered one of the founders of Dadaism and conceptual art. He became famous for, among other things, his 'ready mades': existing...

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