Marcel Duchamp, American (born France), 1887 - 1968

Made in France, Europe


Oil on canvas

57 1/8 × 44 5/8 inches (145.1 × 113.3 cm) Framed: 60 1/8 × 47 3/4 × 3 inches (152.7 × 121.3 × 7.6 cm)

© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris / Estate of Marcel Duchamp

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 181, Modern and Contemporary Art, first floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection, 1950

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In Sonata, a painting begun at the family home in Rouen, France, Marcel Duchamp shows his sisters performing a musical recital. Yvonne plays the piano, Magdeleine is on the violin, and Suzanne sits in the foreground, while their mother attentively listens from behind. The intertwined, symmetrical composition and atmospheric color tonalities of the painting bring the sisters’ two-part harmony to life in visual terms. This work marks the artist’s first attempts at Cubism—a style he initially championed and emulated along with his brothers, Jacques Villon and Raymond Duchamp-Villon, and a group of likeminded artists working in and around Paris during the 1910s.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.