Duchamp and the Narrative


Duchamp and the Narrative.
This lecture is last of the three that explore different types of narrative in 20th century image making; the generations of American narrative painting; the case study of Philip Guston and now Marcel Duchamp.

We'll look at his attempts to create a new type of storytelling, of creating sequences of two dimensions that imply further levels of reality in a way that echoes the cabalistic and hermetic thought of the medieval and early Renaissance period, touched on in an early lecture. We'll look at the meaning, supposed and intended of two works,

1. The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even (La Mariee mise a nue par ses Celibataires, meme); 1915-1923, lead wire, oil and foil, 107" x 67", Philadelphia Museum of Art.



2. Given: 1st. The Waterfall, and 2nd , The Illuminating Gas (Etant donnees: 1.La Chute d'Eau 2. Le Gaz d'Eclairage)1946-1966, mixed media assemblage, Philadelphia Museum of Art. Both works examine the nature of sexuality, the relationship bewteen science and life, the narrative flow of events, the mythic possibilities of narrative, while developing ways of making marks and structures that transcends the conventional repertoire of art.




1. The Large Glass;

click to enlarge


The Bachelors' Domain
The Bachelor Apparatus - The Nine Malic Moulds;
Capillary Tubes;
Region of the Waterfall;
Water Mill;
Chocolate Grinder;
Sieves or Parasols;
Region of the Butterfly Pump;
Toboggan or Cork Screw;
Region of the Three Crashes;
Weight with nine holes;
Oculist Witnesses;
Boxing Match;
Region of the Sculpture of Drops;
Region of the Wilson Lincoln Effect.
The Bride's Domain.
The Bride, Pendu Femelle;
Bride's Garments;
Region of the Gilled cooler;
Milky Way;
Nine Shots;
Region of the cast shadows;
Region of the mirror images of sculpture of drops;
Juggler of Gravity.


2. Given; The Nude, the wall, the landscape, trees and waterfall, lighting, the Gas Light .

A suggested source in a Michelangelo drawing



3. FOUNTAIN AND THE READYMADE from the sale of Contemporary Arts New York, 1999 essay by Francis Naumann




SHORT Chronology

born 1887, died 1968.

1908, from Rouen to Neuilly.

1910, Meets Picabia.

1912, Nude Descending , visits Munich. Works as a Librarian, Biblioteque Ste Genevieve.

1913, Armory Show NY, Nude descending scandal. First work on glass. 1915, arrives in NY, next year produces Readymades.

1918 Buenos Aires.

1923 abandons Large Glass , broken and restored 1936. 1944 first sketch for Given
1966 London retrospective.



Pierre Cabanne, Dialogues with Duchamp ,Thames & Hudson London 1971
Joseph Masbeck, Marcel Duchamp in Perspective ,Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 1975
John Golding, The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors Even , Penguin Press, London, 1973
R.Hamilton and others, The almost complete works of Marcel Duchamp ,Tate, London, 1966
A.Schwarz, The Complete Works of MD , Thames & Hudson, London 1969
A.Oliva, Vita de Marcel Duchamp , Marani, Rome 1976