The Duchamp Dictionary
“Girst elegantly unravels the skeins of Duchamp’s thinking. . . . An essential compendium for puzzling out an essential artist.” —Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation
Among the most influential artists of the last hundred years, Marcel Duchamp holds great allure for many contemporary artists worldwide and is largely considered to be one of the founding fathers of modern art. Despite this popularity, books on Duchamp are often hyper-theoretical, rarely presenting the artist in an accessible way. This new book explores the artist’s life and work through short, alphabetical dictionary entries that introduce his legacy in a clear and engaging way.
From alchemy and anatomy to Warhol and windows, The Duchamp Dictionary offers a pithy and readable text that draws on in-depth scholarship and the very latest research. Thomas Girst includes close to 200 entries on the most interesting and important artworks, relationships, people, and ideas in Duchamp’s life—from The Bicycle Wheel and Fountain to Walter and Louise Arensberg, Peggy Guggenheim, Katherine Dreier, and Arturo Schwarz. Delightful, newly commissioned illustrations introduce each letter of the alphabet and accompany select entries, capturing the irreverent spirit of the artist himself. 59 color illustrations
again, being a juror while dismissing the idea of a jury. After all, ‘it was a good thing to help artists be seen somewhere. It was more camaraderie than anything else.’9 In any case, Duchamp was much more interested in the onlooker as an essential part of ‘The Creative Act’ than in his or her arrival at a final judgment. WASSILY KANDINSKY When Duchamp spent a few months in Munich in 1912, he saw the recently published book, Concerning the Spiritual in Art, by Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944),
listen to much music and musicians don’t look at many pictures. But still there was a tacit understanding, if I may say so.’5 Varèse’s wife Louise (1890–1989; formerly Louise Norton) was also a close friend of Duchamp’s. She got to know him in late spring of 1915, at a time when he was ‘lionized by tout New York and courted by most of the female population.’6 He took pleasure in teaching her French words ‘no lady needs to know’, and Louise, although inspired by his readymades, ‘hardly appreciated
Furlong (ed.), 1976. 11. Quoted in d’Harnoncourt and McShine (eds), 1989, p. 263. 12. Sanouillet and Peterson (eds), 1989, p. 43. 13. Exhibition guide for Hammer’s anatomische Original Ausstellung, Munich, 1916, p. 11. 14. Taylor, 2009, p. 194. 15. Cabanne, 1987, p. 29. 16. Tomkins, 2013, p. 83. 17. Ibid. 18. Kuh (1961), 2000, pp. 81–93, p. 88. 19. Breunig, 2001, pp. 71, 184. 20. Apollinaire, 1970, p. 48. 21. Duchamp quoted in Regás, 1965, p. 85. 22. Gabrielle Buffet-Picabia quoted in
Hill (ed.), 1994, pp. 145–51, p. 145, p. 146. 27. Matisse (ed.), 1983, n.p. (Note no. 199). 28. Ibid. (Note no. 183). 29. Ibid. (Note no. 181). 30. Quoted from an interview with Otto Hahn in Gough-Cooper and Caumont, in Hultén (ed.), 1993, within the entry for 1 July 1966, n.p. 31. Sanouillet and Peterson (eds), 1989, p. 23. N 1. Quoted in ‘French Artists Spur on an American Art’, The New York Tribune, 24 October 1915, sec. IV, pp. 2–3, p. 3. 2. Quoted in Hill (ed.), 1994, p. 80. 3.
(New York, July 1966), pp. 6–11, p. 10. 20. Duchamp in an interview with Francis Roberts (1963), quoted in André Gervais, ‘Note sur le terme readymade (ou ready-made)’, in Chateau and Vanpeene (eds), 1999, pp. 118–26, p. 121. 21. Sanouillet and Peterson (eds), 1989, p. 32. 22. Ibid. 23. Lautréamont, 1966, p. 263. 24. Sanouillet and Peterson (eds), 1989, p. 32. 25. Stauffer, 1981, p. 283; Schwarz, 2000, p. 642. 26. Quoted in Naumann, 1999, p. 15. 27. Quoted in ‘BBC Interview with Marcel