Duchamp Sculpture Acquisition Coup

Art Institute of Chicago Breaks New Ground with Sculpture Acquisition

sculpture acquisition, Bottle Rack by Marchel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp, a pioneer in modern art, signed this piece in 1960 for the owner, a young Robert Rauschenberg. Clearly, the two artists who helped forge a movement had a close relationship. Rauschenberg reportedly was greatly influenced by Duchamp and Bottle Rack was a prized possession.

Now the found art piece gets a new life in Chicago. The sculpture was acquired by the Art Institute of Chicago from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, through Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris.

AIC beat out other museums in getting this work by the modern art master. It went on display Feb 13, 2018

Art Institute President and Eloise W. Martin Director James Rondeau shared: “Bottle Rack is among the most pivotal, landmark works in Marcel Duchamp’s profoundly influential body of work. Rarely, do we have an opportunity to acquire an object that so succinctly embodies the expansive influence of an artist on future generations, including countless on display in our museum every day. This is a transformational moment for our world-class collection–with pride and gratitude we take another progressive step forward in a shared vision with our audiences, curators, and donors to create incomparable experiences of art and artists in our galleries in Chicago.”

This particular piece was first displayed at the 1959 exhibition Art and the Found Object in New York. The theory of this, and other Objets Trouvé or Found Art is that by taking a ready-made piece out of context, the artist embues it with new meaning. Certainly it enables the viewer to look at the object with fresh eyes once the cloak of its intended purpose has been removed.

DucMarcel Duchamp bicycle wheelhamp is widely recognized as the pioneer of this movement in 1913 with his first piece, a bicycle wheel atop a kitchen stool, shown at left.

Other artists who have used readymade objects as, or as part of, their art include Pablo Picasso, René Magritte, Edgard Degas

Read more about this sculpture acquisition by the Art Institute of Chicago

Image credit: Marcel Duchamp. Bottle Rack, 1914/59, signed 1960. The Art Institute of Chicago.

Read more about the history of Objets Trouvé in ArtSpace.