Marcel Duchamp is another person who had a significant impact on the development of 20th-century art, in addition to well-known names like Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol. Dadaism, an avant-garde “anti-art” movement, was developed by the French-American artist Marcel Duchamp. A movement that challenged long-held beliefs about what and how art should be created. Success as a painter in Paris during the years just before World War I was achieved by Duchamp. His unconventional approach to art tried to challenge the basic idea of why it exists and why people value it. Duchamp was the fourth of seven children born to Lucie and Eugene Duchamp on July 28, 1887. His father was a notary, but art is in his blood. Duchamp’s elder brothers were successful artists. Duchamp’s mother, Lucie, was also an amateur artist, and his grandfather was an engraver. Eugene eagerly supported his son Marcel’s artistic career when he reached adulthood.

Life of an Artist: Marcel Duchamp - Sheet1
Portrait of Marcel Duchamp_@

Following the footsteps of his elder brothers, Marcel enrolled at the Académie Julian after winning a prize in drawing at school. He exhibited in the 1908 Salon d’Automne with the patronage of Jacques, who became a member of the Académie Royale. He becomes friends with Francis Picabia and Guillaume Apollinaire. During his brief career as an artist, Duchamp created Nude Descending a Staircase, which was submitted to the Cubist Salon des Indépendents in 1912. The organizers of that exhibition asked his elder brothers to persuade him to withdraw the painting or to paint over its title then he took a taxi to the showroom and removed it from the exhibition. After this point in his life, he devoted much of his time to determine what constitutes art and who can decide it? 

After gaining exemption from military service, Duchamp felt increasingly uncomfortable in France, and in 1915 decided to immigrate to the United States. He could move because several of his paintings were purchased there. As soon as he arrived in the country, he found he was a celebrity, and eventually took citizenship in 1955. 

Duchamp’s creative career extended several decades, during which he altered his art on numerous occasions, frequently upsetting criticism sensitivities along the way. Duchamp alternated between Paris and New York for most of those years. He became involved in the New York art scene, making close acquaintances with people like the American artist Man Ray, the writer Henri-Pierre Roché, the composer Edgar Varèse, the painters Francisco Picabia, and Jean Crotti, as well as historian Jacques Martin Barzun and composer Jacques Martin Barzun.

A 1912 picture by Marcel Duchamp is titled Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2. The piece has gained widespread recognition as a Modernist masterpiece and has become one of its most well-known examples. It was rejected by the Cubists as being too futuristic before its first showing at the Salon des Independents in Paris in 1912. Despite using the Cubist color scheme and shape, it also included a connection to explicit perpetual motion and was criticized for its dehumanizing portrayal of a naked female body. The picture also caused a significant uproar during the 1913 New York Armory Show of Europe, following which the New York Dadaist community enthusiastically welcomed Duchamp.

Life of an Artist: Marcel Duchamp - Sheet2
Nude Descending Staircase_@

Bicycle Wheel (1913), which included a wheel set on a stool, was the first ready-made designed by Duchamp in protest against the disproportionate value placed on works of art. Technically speaking, this piece was a “ready-made aided” because the artist interfered by fusing two items. After that, Duchamp created “pure ready-mades,” each of which included only one thing, including Bottle Rack (1914) and his most well-known ready-made, the porcelain urinal Fountain (1917). Duchamp tried to disprove the idea that an art piece is unique by using mass-produced, everyday items. As a result, art was redefined in a new, contentious way as an intellectual rather than a material exploration. 

Life of an Artist: Marcel Duchamp - Sheet3
Duchamp with Bicycle wheel_@

Duchamp said he would devote his life to chess in 1923, officially giving up on the arts. He played on numerous French chess tournament teams and was a very strong player. However, he continued to operate under the name Rrose Sélavy from 1923 to 1946, albeit rather covertly. Additionally, he kept making ready-mades. Despite the fact that he was no longer a very active artist, he kept working with Surrealists on his pieces. He oversaw the Gallerie des Beaux-Arts at Paris’ 1938 International Surrealist Exhibition. He started working on his final big piece, “Etant donnes,” which portrayed a naked lady laying on her back with her hand holding a gas lamp in the background, at the conclusion of his life. From 1946 through 1966, he worked on this piece of art. He also established the literary collective “Oulipo” at this time, and the Pasadena Art Museum hosted his first retrospective show.


In 2000, the Centre Georges Pompidou established the Prix Marcel Duchamp Award in his honor. A panel of prominent artists and historians evaluated his work ‘Fountain’ as one of the ‘most influential artworks of the 20th century’ in 2004. There are still many of his original artworks that exist today, but many of them are lost. Throughout the world, you can even find duplicates of his artwork.


Sir Alistair MacFarlane (2015)_Marcel Duchamp(1887-1968), Available at:

Nan Rosenthal(2004)_Marcel Duchamp(1887-1968), Available at:


Abhigna is a young architect who has a unique architectural way of interpreting things. Her interest lies in articulating sensible spaces according to the needs of society. She believes in the exploration of continuum architecture.