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