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Apolinère Enameled

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

Made in United States, North and Central America


Gouache and graphite on painted tin, mounted on cardboard

9 5/8 x 13 3/8 inches (24.4 x 34 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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Duchamp added pencil, paint, and cardboard to a painted tin advertisement for Sapolin enamel, an industrial paint, to create this “assisted” readymade. The sign’s manipulated lettering, a pun on the name of his friend Guillaume Apollinaire, the French writer and art critic, wryly calls attention to the readymade’s implicit critique of traditional painting.

Additional information:
  • PublicationTwentieth-Century Painting and Sculpture in the Philadelphia Museum of Art

    The commonplace objects that Duchamp chose as "Readymade" works of art epitomized the artist's belief that art should go beyond the visual and appeal to the mind as well as the senses. Duchamp began signing and giving titles to mass-produced items after he moved to New York in 1915, beginning with a snow shovel purchased in a hardware store. With Hidden Noise marks the transition from Duchamp's signed objects to more elaborate works, which Duchamp called "assisted Readymades."

    Another assisted Readymade, Apolinère Enameled, was a humorous homage to his friend the poet Guillaume Apollinaire. The tin sign, which Duchamp probably obtained from a paint store, was an advertisement for Sapolin enamel, a brand of industrial paint commonly used on radiators. The artist carefully manipulated the lettering in the commercially printed plaque, obscuring the S in Sapolin and adding new letters in white paint to evoke the poet's name, albeit intentionally misspelled. Duchamp also delicately shaded in pencil the reflection of the little girl's hair in the mirror. Twentieth Century Painting and Sculpture in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2000), p. 48.