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Portrait of the Artist's Father

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

Made in France, Europe


Oil on canvas

36 3/8 x 28 7/8 inches (92.4 x 73.3 cm) Framed: 38 7/16 × 31 × 2 1/2 inches (97.6 × 78.7 × 6.4 cm)

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

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection, 1950

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Additional information:
  • PublicationMasterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Impressionism and Modern Art

    In this portrait of his father, Duchamp presents a penetrating psychological study of a shrewd yet thoughtful man. This is one of many portraits the artist painted in Rouen, France, in 1910, at the age of twenty-three, and it demonstrates his intense interest in Paul Cézanne, who died in 1907 and whom he called "the father of us all."1 Duchamp described the portrait as "a typical illustration of my cult for Cézanne mixed up with filial love."2 Cézanne's influence is clearly evident in the balanced structure, muted tones, and planar construction of the painting, one of Duchamp's strongest early works. Eugène Duchamp, a notary, was a benevolent and generous supporter of Marcel and his five siblings, three of whom were artists. Duchamp credited his father with allowing him to pursue his interest in art, stating that with his father's financial help, he was able to explore his fascination with Cézanne, whom he credited with opening up new possibilities for his own artistic development. Emily Hage, from Masterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Impressionism and Modern Art (2007), p. 156.

    1) Calvin Tomkins, Duchamp: A Biography (New York: Henry Holt, 1996), p. 42.
    2) See Anne d'Harnoncourt and Kynaston McShine, eds., from Marcel Duchamp (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1973), p. 243.


Jean Crotti (brother-in-law of Marcel Duchamp), Neuilly; sold to Louise and Walter C. Arensberg, Los Angeles, through Marcel Duchamp as agent, 1936 [1]; gift to PMA, 1950. 1. See provenance notes by Duchamp dated September 8, 1951 (PMA, Arensberg Archives).