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Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2)
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Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2)

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

Made in France, Europe


Oil on canvas

57 7/8 × 35 1/8 inches (147 × 89.2 cm) Framed: 59 3/4 × 36 3/4 × 2 inches (151.8 × 93.3 × 5.1 cm)

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

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 282, Modern and Contemporary Art, second floor (d’Harnoncourt Gallery)

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection, 1950

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On March 18, 1912, Marcel Duchamp received an unexpected visit from his two brothers, Jacques Villon and Raymond Duchamp-Villon, at his studio in Neuilly-sur-Seine. They informed their younger brother that the hanging committee of the Salon des Indépendants exhibition in Paris, which included themselves, Albert Gleizes, Jean Metzinger, and others, had rejected his Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2. These Cubist painters had refused to display the painting on the grounds that "A nude never descends the stairs--a nude reclines." Although the work was shown in the Salon de la Section d'Or in October 1912, Duchamp never forgave his brothers and former colleagues for censoring his work.


Frederic C. Torrey, San Francisco, purchased from the artist at the Armory Show, New York, March 5, 1913 [1]. Acquired through Walter Pach by Louise Arensberg (1879-1953) and Walter C. Arensberg (1878-1954), Los Angeles, 1919 [2]; gift to PMA, 1950. 1. Milton Brown, The Story of the Armory Show, New York, 1988, p. 264. 2. The Arensbergs moved from their New York apartment to Los Angeles in 1921.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.