Calvin Tomkins, author of the recently published and much-acclaimed biography of Marcel Duchamp (Duchamp, Henry Holt and Company, 1996), will pay a visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Wednesday evening, December 18, 1996. From 6:00 to 6:45 p.m. in the Van Pelt Auditorium, Mr. Tomkins will join Anne d'Harnoncourt, Director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Ann Temkin, the Museum's Curator of 20th-Century Art, for an informal discussion regarding the life and art of Duchamp, recognized as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Mr. Tomkins will sign copies of Duchamp in the Museum's West Entrance hall beginning at 7:00 p.m. The discussion and booksigning will be free after Museum admission.
Mr. Tomkins, who has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1960, has written eight books, including Living Well is the Best Revenge, The World of Marcel Duchamp and The Bride and the Bachelors. Mr. Tomkins first met Duchamp in 1958, and has written, "it could be said that my entire career has been a preparation for this book."
Museum Director Anne d'Harnoncourt wrote about the new book, "The life of Marcel Duchamp offers formidable yet delicate terrain which requires the most intrepid and imaginative of explorers. Calvin Tomkins' splendid biography is as subtle as its subject, with the rare combination of intelligence and a light touch." The Philadelphia Museum of Art is the home to the world's most important collection of works by Duchamp, most of which was assembled by the visionary collectors Walter and Louise Arensberg during the first half of this century. Duchamp oversaw the original installation of his works at the Museum during the 1950s, including such masterpieces as The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass) and Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2). Ms. d'Harnoncourt, who served as the Museum's Curator of 20th-Century Art from 1972 to 1982, organized a 1973 retrospective of Duchamp's work and was co-editor of the accompanying catalogue, which was reissued by Prestel in 1989.