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Marcel Duchamp
Nationality: 
american (born france)
Gender: 
Male
Birth Date: 
1877
Birth Place: 
Blainville, France
Death Date: 
1968
Death Place: 
Paris, France
Artist. Broke down the boundaries between works of art and everyday objects. Became an American citizen in 1947. His grandfather, his brothers, Jacques Villon, and Raymond Duchamp-Villon, and his sister, Suzanne Duchamp, were all artists. The three brothers agreed ca. 1901 to use different names professionally. Went to Paris in 1903 and studied at the Academie Julian, and did cartoons for the "Courrier Française" and "Le Rire" between 1905 and 1910. Knew Apollinaire and other artists involved in the Cubist movement. He also met Picabia, who later founded American Dada. In 1913 Duchamp abandoned conventional media and became interested in three-dimensional objects and "ready-mades." He aimed (unsuccessfully as he himself admitted) to take away the mystique of taste and destroy the concept of aesthetic beauty in art. Duchamp's "Nude Descending a Staircase" created a major stir at the Armory Show in 1913. After that time he painted few other pictures. His irreverence for conventional aesthetic standards led him to devise his famous ready-mades and heralded an artistic revolution. Thus when he arrived in America in 1915 he was already notorious. In 1923 Duchamp retired from work as an artist, although he collaborated with Man Ray on some experimental films and continued to organize exhibitions. Duchamp was friendly with the Dadaists, and in the 1930s he helped to organize Surrealist exhibitions. The Pompidou Center in Paris opened with a retrospective of Duchamp's work in 1977.

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