1-2-3-DUCHAMP !

a visual analysis of Marcel Duchamp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1902-1910

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1902-1910 :  the heedless enthusiasm of the young player


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Young girl sleeping
(April 1902, Blainville) AS-4
Probably this is the first work in which Marcel Duchamp hides erotic elements.
A boy, his nose in between naked buttocks. A penis in erection. The profile of a young man between the legs of a girl. Does he blow or does he suck? What is he doing? If we turn the painting, we can see a vagina drawn between the thighs of a sitting girl. Turned again, the painting shows us a giant glans and a licking tongue belonging to it… coming out of a pouting mouth… underneath a small nose.
  

 

1902 – Marcel is the third son, 15 years old now. His two older brothers, Gaston en Raymond, are 26 and 27 at the moment and they are both artists in Montmartre, Paris. Marcel grows up with his younger sister Suzanne. There is two years age difference between them and they always play together. There are two other sisters, 7 and 4, Yvonne and Magdeleine. They live together in the poshest house of Blainville-Crevon, a village in Normandy, where father Duchamp has been mayor for seven years. The family is well-to-do and bourgeois. The house is full of paintings and etchings by grandfather Emile Nicolle, who made good money as a ship broker. He taught his first two grandsons how to draw and paint and paid for their art studies. Emile Nicolle died eight years before, in 1894, when Marcel was seven.

 

Suzanne Duchamp Playing a Game of Solitaire
(April 1902, Blainville) AS-5
The hidden reality of Marcel Duchamp, as to be seen through his extraordinary glasses: Cunt-looking, penis near mouth, masturbation, ass smelling, blow jobs…
 


Suzanne Duchamp Seated in a Red Armchair
(May 1902, Blainville) AS-6
Glans-licking, vagina-peeking, erections…
Grandmother sewing
(July 1902, Blainville) AS-7
Cunt-looking, erection…


Landscape at Blainville
(1902, Blainville) AS-16
Marcel’s first oil painting. In a smooth impressionist style. But also a searching game. Rotated to the right we see in between a girl’s legs: her vagina and anus. Making use of optical illusion through perspective, called anamorphism, we see in those lines an erection. Tilted to the left, with anamorphism, this yields an enormous prat. The painting hides many other erections and vaginas. To the right near the bridge, hidden letters are to be found. We can spell “MARCEL” with them… and also “SUZANNE”.
 


Suzanne Duchamp seated
(1902, Blainville) AS-19
Again the peeking under the skirt. And a big glans, only part of it because the paper was ripped…

 

1897- 1904 – Marcel Duchamp went to school in the Lycée Corneille te Rouen and boarded at the Ecole Boussuet, where the drawing underneath was made.

 

Hanging Gas Lamp (Bec Auer)
(1903-4, Rouen) AS-28
Master penis in full flame, amongst others…
 


Suzanne Duchamp seated

(1904-5, Rouen) AS-32
Suzanne, 15-16 years old, a secretive look in her eyes. Marcel has grown older too: 17-18 years.
A whole bunch of obscenities is to be found: cunt-looking, masturbating, something that looks like cunnilingus , the “Horse head” (see “1924-1968”). On the back of the chair a text is written, sometimes in mirror writing (it’s an etching), something with “L’Amour”, maybe also “de ma soeur”? And then there are penises and even more… but this is unclear.
   


1904 – Marcel, 17, leaves for Paris to study at the Academie Julian. This school offers a preparational year to the “Ecole des Beaux-Arts”. Marcel lives in Montmartre next to his oldest brother Gaston who meanwhile calls himself Jacques Villon. Jacques already has a reputation as an etcher, illustrator and caricaturist. He is also co-organiser of the Salon d’Automne and yet he enrols in the academy Julian as a student with Marcel. Marcel plays at pool more often than going to school.


The Sacré Coeur
(1904-5, Paris) AS-35
This sketch has a game of illusion as its base, like in “The vase or the two faces”. Exchange the volume (=the dome) with the empty space (=the air) to get the desired visual effect. You’ll be looking in between the thighs of a woman.
 


1905 – Father Duchamp is 57 and retires early. He and his family move to Rouen where he plays an important role in politics. Suzanne goes to art academy.

1905 – Marcel trains as a printer in Rouen to escape the long army duty for one year, which he will conclude in 1906 with an officer’s education.

1906 – Brother Jacques Villon moves to Puteaux, right outside of Paris (where ‘La Défense’ is actually located) and concentrates on painting.

1907 – Brother Raymond, the sculptor, also moves to Puteaux.

1907 – Marcel Duchamp is back in Paris and starts as a cartoonist. In imitation of Jacques who, already at the end of the 1800s, illustrated for satirical magazines like ‘Le Chat Noire’ and ‘Gil Blas’ and later for the notorious ‘L’Assiette au Beurre’.

 

Flirt
(1907, Paris) AS-101
Marcel also hides his erotic desires in these works for publication: nose near buttocks, standing woman peeing, penis ejaculating, licking drops (urine?) on chubby thighs, a girl licks a glans…
 


House among Apple Trees
(1907, Puteaux) AS-103
This painting, tilted to the left, shows hidden: the vagina, the erection, being masturbated or receiving a blow job? And also: an adult woman, dressed. That is new! She was hidden in a tree. A fat woman with a crooked nose. She looks up. And then again this woman, but in close up, looking up at a door or a curtain. Is this the maid Clémence? She looks at two young figures who are in the middle of some sort of erotic acrobatics (a girl has her knees on the shoulders of a boy, who, on his knees, looks up between her legs while he masturbates). Looking at the tree horizontally it becomes a sort of caricature with a long nose and a beard: the father? Marcel himself, sits masturbating in front of a farting ass, … The most striking traitors are the odd-shaped tree trunks. They appear to be letters. Exactly the letters for “J ‘AIME SUZANNE”.

  


On the Cliff
(1907, Yport or Veules-les-Roses) AS-107
Hidden in the in rock sits Marcel, he has buttocks on his head and masturbates. In the cliff rocks in the background hide many erections, and a vagina, and a pouting sister Yvonne, or so it seems… And then there are plenty of things that were painted over by the sea…

 

1908 – Marcel moves to Neuilly-sur-Seine, between Puteaux and Paris.

 

News
(1908, Parijs) AS-118
A big portrait of Marcel with different possibilities: urine drops raining on his head and his nose is in a vagina, or an anus. Different erections, different vaginas, tongue at glans, the letters M and S?…
  


Conversation
(1908, Paris) AS-123
Routine: the erection, the vagina,… Also the letters M and S, in the hat. Maybe those letters are in every work?
 


Feminisme
(1908, Paris) AS-125
Erection… vagina…
 

 

1909 – Marcel Duchamp produces 18 satirical cartoons this year in ‘Le Courier Français’, a surprisingly high production. Marcel usually doesn’t work that much.

 

Le Lapin
(1909, Neuilly) AS-130
Big vagina. A man blows in between thighs at a vagina. Masturbation. Open girl’s legs. Man with head under skirt, sniffing. A sort of 69 and… a penetration. This is something else. Marcel in the meantime is 22 years old. This intercourse is done from behind, dressed, the man pushes the woman’s head on the table, she doesn’t look happy, the man’s face isn’t drawn… Is this rape? Who is portrayed here? The woman has an adult face, not the face of a girl. Clearly someone’s portrait.
   


The Cab
(1909, Neuilly) AS-131
Also published. Marcel draws himself strikingly, underneath buttocks licking at thighs. Or in that other situation, the cartoon tilted to the right, where he holds his nose near an anus and receives a fart. Very ‘Etant donnés’, these elements.
  

See a part of the analysis in slideshow 4 :
click here

1909 – Marcel Duchamp makes a painting of the maid Clémence in black ink on black paper. (AS- 142)

1910 – The painter’s model Jeanne Serre moves across from Marcel’s house with her husband. She will pose for ‘Les Puteaux’. Marcel starts an affair with her. On April 16th they visit, together with a young German painter, Max Bergmann, the ‘Salon de la Société Nationale de Beaux-Arts’. Max Bergmann receives a “Bilboquet” from Marcel as a gift. A ball catcher, an old-fashioned wooden toy (what is now considered to be the first ready-made).

 

Portrait of Dr. Dumouchel
(April 1910, Neuilly) AS-181
Marcel Duchamp has become a fauvist. But the visual games stay as well as the themes. There are so many penises and vaginas in the face of Dr. Dumouchel that we are allowed to wonder whether this gentleman ever existed. The fingers, spread far too wide, hide a vagina and also the smelling at legs…  


Portrait of the Artist’s Father
(1910, Rouen) AS-191
Was the poor man aware of his son’s perversity? Various erections, and vaginas. Also a vagina with a finger at or in it. But not at the clitoris. The father’s bald skull is in many ways an ass or a vagina or a penis. With the head of Marcel closeby, licking, sniffing or blowing. And again there is the doggy position! Do they really fuck? And if you isolate the green painted part, a profile of the young master can be detected.
   

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POSSIBLE SCENARIO part 1
the heedless enthusiasm of the young player

In 1902 Marcel Duchamp, then 15 years old, begins to hide erotic scenes in his drawings and paintings. It concerns a very specific erotica in which urine and farts are important. Sexual parts are drawn from nature and Marcel Duchamp mostly portrays himself. Are these true events? A memory of them or a desire for them? In the beginning the sexual acts are quite innocent but in 1910 they evolve towards a certain adulthood. The whole could be seen as some form of report, an account of Marcel Duchamp’s most private fun.

In this situation his head is mostly found between the thighs of a girl. He obviously gets turned on by looking under a girl’s skirts at her vagina, seeing her pee and blowing at it, feeling, smelling and tasting the urine. When she stands upright, he prefers to be right underneath her buttocks. He loves urine on his face. He must have had a similar desire for farts. It is clearly visible that he blows against the wind and probably also sucks in wind. The disgusting appears to be of importance. Does he love its warmth? In the meantime he is masturbating or is being masturbated. Or his glans is being licked. It is not clear where the fun lies for his female partner. Only his orgasm seems to count.

The most plausible partner is his sister Suzanne, younger by two years, with whom Marcel has been playing since they were children. Marcel seems to be very much in love with her. He hides her name more than once in his works, and in 1907 – he is 20, she is 18 – “J’aime Suzanne”. It is highly probable that she is also in love with him. Her admiration from when she was a child would have gotten a different meaning once their hormones kicked into action. They played their erotic games semi-clothed, probably in secret. Only the two of them must have shared this secret. It is possible that only she knows that Marcel hides erotica in his drawings. Their own secret dirty erotica. He draws it for her. It strengthens their bond and their game.

Later on they will make this game more interesting, by introducing a mirror, a table sometimes and other furniture and household items. It is all to be found in his paintings, well hidden. Their acrobatics as well: Suzanne hangs under the stairs with her knees on Marcel’s shoulders. He is kneeling on the floor, looks up and masturbates. We can also see a finger, in or on a vagina. Not on the clitoris. They are probably making up some rules of the game, to determine what will be their actions. Analysis of the next years will make this clearer. But the full context and the exact where and how can only be contemplated hypothetically.

Do they play their game in the washroom in the cellar? Have they got a rendezvous every Sunday at 11? When their parents are off to mass? Apparently they get caught: in 1907 an adult woman watches in on their activities. The maidservant Clémence? Does she make it into a scandal? Or did this happen in 1904? What could have led up to the sudden firing of his father as mayor and the early departure of Marcel to Paris, placed under the care of Jacques, Marcel’s 12 year older brother? In Paris Marcel’s desire for Suzanne stays strong. In everyday things he sees her spread thighs and dreams of her urine and farts. In each work he hides this desire with non-diminishing enthusiasm, for her.
Or were they only caught in 1907? This might then lead to Marcel’s quarantine of sorts in Neuilly? Which had as its effect a very high production of caricatures, that are full of hidden erotica. This is the sole way in which Marcel can keep showing his love for Suzanne: through the newspaper. Maybe the little scenes he hides are more wish than reality? And does he rashly go even further than they ever did in real life? A man fucks a woman from behind, both of them mostly dressed. True or untrue? If these were actual facts, they would have been plainly scandalous.

At the time, 1902 – 1910, the end of the Belle Epoque with its huge gap between social classes, the bourgeoisie considers itself superior. Sexual abuse is evident, but also heavily criticized. The bourgeoisie is strict, as tight in dress as in manners. A sign of wisdom, of culture. Their children’s days and evenings are filled with literature, music, drawing, study, board games, poetry, chess or puzzle games.
Little Marcel was excellent in these puzzle games and very creative. He learned how to play chess, how to draw and paint, everything from his brothers. He was quick in coming up with witty word games, be it in sound, meaning or by turning them backwards. He loved solving the word riddles in magazines. A cryptogram, an anagram or even a “cryptographie circulaire du chevalier”. He adored picture puzzles as well and made his own for Suzanne. This is how it must have started: as an innocent child’s game.

But in 1910 it is no longer a game played by children. Marcel is 23, the game becomes an obsessive hiding of explicit erotica. His paintings also become more loaded.
“As long as they don’t see what I am actually occupied with… only Suzanne”.

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Ref.:
Gorik Lindemans (© 2012)
1902-1910 :  the heedless enthusiasm of the young player

1-2-3-DUCHAMP !  a visual analysis of Marcel Duchamp
onetwothreeduchamp.wordpress.com

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