Marcel Duchamp (pronounced ) (July 28, 1887 - October 2, 1968) was a French-American artist whose work and ideas had considerable influence on the development of post-World War II Western art, and his advice to modern art collectors helped shape the tastes of the Western art world. His influence continues into the 21st century.
While he is most often associated with the Dada and Surrealism movements, his participation in Surrealism was largely behind the scenes, and after being involved in New York Dada, he barely participated in Paris Dada.
Thousands of books and articles attempt to interpret Duchamp's work and philosophy, but in interviews and his writing Duchamp only added to the mystery. The interpretations interested him as creations of their own, and as reflections of the interpreter.
A playful man, Duchamp prodded thought about artistic processes and art marketing, not so much with words, but with actions such as dubbing a urinal art and naming it Fountain, and by "giving up" art to play chess. He produced relatively few artworks, as he quickly moved through the avant-garde rhythms of his time.
The creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act. - Marcel Duchamp Living and working in a studio in Montparnasse, Marcel Duchamp's early works were Post-Impressionist in style but he would become perhaps the most influential of the Dada artists. A student at the AcadÃ©mie Julian, his influence is still strongly felt to this day by contemporary artists.
At his eldest brother Jacques' home, in 1911 the Duchamp brothers organized a regular discussion group with artists and critics such as Francis Picabia, Robert Delaunay, Fernand Leger and others that soon was dubbed the Puteaux Group.
In early years, Duchamp had some contact with the Salon Cubists of Paris, but aesthetic as well as political differences precluded closer affiliation. In 1912, he painted Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2, in which motion was expressed by successive superimposed images, as in motion pictures. The work was originally slated to appear in Paris, but the Salon Cubists demanded that Duchamp retitle it to avoid possible scandal. Duchamp removed the work from the exhibition entirely, and, in 1913, it went on to create a scandal at the Armory Show in New York City instead; it also spawned dozens of parodies in the years that followed.