“I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste.” ~Marcel Duchamp
Marcel Duchamp (pronunciation) was born in Blainville-Crevon, France (pronunciation), on July 28, 1887. He began his art studies at an early age and showed talent for drawing and painting. In 1904, he enrolled at the Académie Julian in Paris, where he studied under the well-known painter and sculptor Jules Lecomte du Nouÿ.
Duchamp’s early artworks aligned more with the Post-Impressionism style. However, he was not satisfied with the traditional approach to art at the Academy, and so in 1912, he moved to Munich, Germany, where he came into contact with the avant-garde art scene. It was here that Duchamp began to experiment with non-traditional materials and techniques.
In 1915, he moved to New York City, where he became involved with the Dada movement. He began to experiment with ready-made objects, which he called “found objects” or Ready-Mades. In 1917, he created one of his most famous works, “Fountain,” which was a photograph of a urinal signed with the pseudonym “R. Mutt.” It was met with a lot of criticism for being a striking shift from traditional artwork.
In 1918, Duchamp returned to Paris, where he joined the Surrealist movement. He continued to experiment with Ready-Mades as well as collages and assemblages. In 1919, he produced “ L.H.O.O.Q.” which was a parody of the Mona Lisa that featured a mustache and goatee added to Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic portrait.
Duchamp continued to create art until his death in 1968. He was a highly influential artist due to his desire to provoke and challenge his audience, and he is remembered for redefining what is considered to be art today.