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Marcel Duchamp's Unhappy Readymade

Attributed to Suzanne Duchamp, French, 1889 - 1963. Attributed to Jean Joseph Crotti, French (born Switzerland), 1878 - 1958.

Photograph taken in Paris, France, Europe

c. 1919-1920

Gelatin silver print

Image: 4 3/16 × 2 11/16 inches (10.7 × 6.9 cm) Sheet: 4 5/16 x 2 3/4 inches (11 x 7 cm)

© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Curatorial Department:
Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Virginia and William Camfield, 1983

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Upon learning that his sister, Suzanne, had married the artist Jean Crotti in Paris while he was still in Argentina, Marcel Duchamp (American (born France), 1887 - 1968) sent as a wedding gift the idea of the “unhappy readymade.” He instructed them to hang a geometry book outside so that its pages would be torn apart and its text would be erased by the elements. Suzanne in turn photographed the book and later created a painting in homage to this gesture that welcomed the effects of chance and life.