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Yvonne and Magdeleine Torn in Tatters

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

In this picture, Marcel Duchamp sets the profiles of his two youngest sisters, Yvonne and Magdaleine Duchamp, in a fluid pictorial space. The emphasis on the long nose—a shared family trait—brings an element of quasi-caricature or exaggerated depiction, while the title phrase "torn in tatters" suggests a humorous take on the breakdown of conventional pictorial form that was central to the theories of Duchamp’s fellow Cubist painters. In fact, he packs this composition with many types of visual ambiguity: visual transparency, double images, arbitrary shifts in scale, the switching of figure and background, and the reversal of direction.


Object Details
Louise Arensberg (1879-1953) and Walter C. Arensberg (1878-1954), Los Angeles, by c. 1918 [1].1. Visible in a photo of the Arensbergs' New York apartment taken by Charles Sheeler c. 1918. The Arensbergs moved from New York to Los Angeles in 1921.

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