This is the first catalogue raisonné for Marcel Duchamp. It is encased in a box designed by him with a signed faux readymade mounted on the top board reading “Eau et Gaz à Tous les Étages.” This expression was a common part of real estate signage in early twentieth century France, and it was a continuing theme in Duchamp’s manuscript notes dating back to 1911. In its day the sign indicated a building with modern conveniences, thus setting it apart from nineteenth century structures.

The catalogue raisonné itself, entitled Sur Marcel Duchamp and containing some 122 plates, was compiled by Robert Lebel in cooperation with Duchamp, and the close collaboration of the two is well documented in a reprint of the catalogue made by the Centre Georges Pompidou in 1996. The red cloth covered box has an autoportrait de profil of Duchamp along with a cut-paper collage of the same image. The box has two hinged panels of an acetate reproduction and a collotype reproduction, with the former depicting a scale version of Duchamp’s famous The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even (the Large Glass), which was the inspiration for three of Duchamp’s most important artist’s books: The Box of 1914, The Green Box (1934), and A l’Infinitif (the White Box) (1967).

This deluxe edition is limited to 137 copies. The readymade is signed by Duchamp and the book is signed by both Duchamp and Lebel.

 

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