1-2-3-DUCHAMP !

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

1911-1912

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1911-1912 :  the aggressive exaggeration of the jealous player

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1911 – February 6th, in Neuilly Jeanne Serre’s daughter is born, it is assumed Marcel is the father. Marcel had ended the affair long before.

1911 – Suzanne Duchamp announces her marriage to a pharmacist from Rouen.


Young Man and Girl in Spring./ Jeune homme et jeune fille au printemps

(spring 1911, Neuilly) AS-220
Marcel’s wedding gift: “A toi ma chère Suzanne.” and immediately his glans is thrusted out to her, big and well. His erection in a heart. It is Marcel Duchamp’s wildest canvas.
In addition: large buttocks and a large vagina, ejaculating little glanses surrounding them, bubbling urine? (urine collected between her thighs in a lake, and in it her bubbling farts? Is she on her back or her belly? Is it her urine or Marcel’s?), and other memories that are still unclear. What’s floating between her hands? Some sort of spinning top? What is he flapping about? Has she got wings? There are so many secret little details hidden in it…
      

 

1911 – Jacques Villon establishes the “Groupe de Puteaux” a discussion panel devoted to cubism, that revolts against the strict cubism of Picasso and Braque. The group wants an analytical cubism, a synthetic cubism . They investigate the non-euclid and elliptical geometry, the old harmonic principle of the golden section and they strive for a fourth dimension in art. The group is made up of many artists and writers: Fernand Leger, Robert Delaunay, Guillaume Apollinaire, Albert Gleizes, Frantisek Kupka, Constantin Brancusi,…, and Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Marcel Duchamp and Suzanne Duchamp. They will exhibit as a group at the Salon des Indépendants and the Salon d’Autome.

1911 – On August 23d Suzanne Duchamp becomes Madame Charles Victor René Demares.


Yvonne and Magdeleine Torn in Tatters / Yvonne et Magdeleine déchiquetées

(September 1911, Veules-les-Roses) AS-221
We know its content.
Has Marcel really applied the erotica on the two sisters , now that Suzanne has moved out? They are only 16 and 13 years old! Or is he expressing his longing for Suzanne? Hot secret messages for her? Then why mention the girls explicitly?
 



Apropos of Little Sister / A propos de jeune soeur

(October 1911, Rouen) AS-222
Assumed to be Magdeleine, the youngest. Why? Isn’t Suzanne also a “jeune soeur”? Again we see the same ingredients: someone is blowing at a cunt (seemingly another man, with blue eyes and a pointy chin or beard), a giant cock is being masturbated (by a hand that is quite small in comparison), a big vagina with a lot of yellow surrounding it, a female ass farting at a candle, a girl kneeling on a table, peeing, different other vaginas… Is this all truly “à propos de Magdeleine”?
   



Sonata / Sonate

(January-October 1911, Rouen-Neuilly) AS-229
Mother Duchamp and her three daughters. Yvonne and Magdeleine are making the music now: a sonata. Or is Marcel Duchamp refering to “The Kreutzer Sonata” of Tolstoj? (Translated to French in 1890.) The drama about the imaginative, jealous husband and his physical lust.
The painting is more cubist in style, the visual riddle is fuller. A girl, lying or standing, buttocks naked and peeing with one leg pulled up, a large erection and a large vagina, these have been drawn from nature, someone’s blowing between naked legs, masturbation, glans-licking, Marcel’s head under an ass, here a cunt, there an erection, the mother’s head is composed by an erection and its mirror image. And the objects: a big spoon or fan? And again that spinning top (AS-220)?
       



Dulcinea

(October 1911, Neuilly) AS-230
Dulcinea, princess Sweetness, the imaginary love of Don Quixote. The ultimate symbol of illusion.
The women resemble Suzanne. And concealed we see five large vaginas and different erections. Also a standing self-portrait to the extreme right: Don Quixote.
(“Cuixote” in Catalan means “thighs, buttocks”.)
  


1911 – Paris, Salon d’Autome, Marcel Duchamp meets the painter Francis Picabia, who becomes a cubist and member of the Puteaux-group. Picabia and Duchamp remain friends for life.

 

Mediocrity / Médiocrité
(November-December 1911, Neuilly) AS-231
This is a different sort of search game. Here are The Letters again. They are hidden by a deformation of their usual form and then slid into each other. With the results we can make “Suzanne je t’aime” and also “Marcel”. Speaking about mediocrity. Furthermore we can visually discover a vagina, not drawn realistically now. And possibly more of Marcel’s classics.


  



Portrait of Chess Players / Portrait de joueurs d’échecs

(December 1911, Neuilly) AS-235
Marcel Duchamp is a cubist now. Because you can hide more, and easier, in this style. The basic drawings have been simplified, it causes confusion when puzzling.
But even so: a man blowing in between spread woman’s legs, a squatting girl is peeing, erections and masturbation, a girl’s naked butt with someone in profile licking it, someone else in profile blowing, the old woman with a crooked nose, a man’s head in between the legs of a sitting woman, more masturbation, a male profile looking through something (a magnifying glass?) at a vagina, man licks vagina of woman kneeling forward or receives her farts, girl showing her arse, erection, erection-licking… etc… There are more hidden things than usual.
           



Coffee Mill / Moulin à café

(November-December 1911, Neuilly) AS-237
This painting is most faithful to the cubist development of form. Still there are many overlaps à la Duchamp. Now in an abstracting display of the themes: frontal erection with a hand around it, other erections, the straddle (= the brown field to the lower right) like the dome of the Sacré Coeur, licking the glans, blowing at a cunt (= funny: that arrow is the cunt). And also “enculer”?
   

Sad Young Man on a Train / Jeune homme triste dans un train

(December 1911, Neuilly) AS-238
This picture puzzle is terribly complicated. More complex than anything before. Futurism! There is a mass of lines, and consequently many hidden drawings. But thanks to Marcel’s glasses: a very large and proud erection, a large vagina with a line of yellow paint coming out from under it. A woman bent forward, behind and buttocks exposed, an erection in front of it at the ready. There are plenty of erections. One becomes, after a long time looking, a grown up man who offers his erection to a child, a girl, but it could be a boy who at the same time masturbates. This is new as well. Then there is a large portrait of a licking person. And a penetration from the front or back, not too clear… Incredible, this picture puzzle.
  
Moreover the title is just too bizarre, this has to conceal something. It is a verbal riddle, an anagram. We need to use all the letters to make another sentence. A perfectly meaningful message, albeit erotic. Information about their game. These anagrams are only to be solved by native French-speakers.

(That is why we no longer take the English translation of the titles into account. They only take us further away from what Marcel Duchamp was trying to tell us at the time.



Nu descendant un escalier N°1

(December 1911, Neuilly) AS-239
Again a word puzzle or a verbal riddle. Duchamp makes things very difficult. Did even Suzanne understand?
We see: a descending staircase. And concealed: a vagina up close, a huge erection, an erection close to a girl’s butt, an interior with a small chair (as in AS-7) lots of cardboard or files, and a mirror? A girl peeing against a mirror, someone giving head, a turning thing close to a vagina, a fan (a “girouette”)? Bubbles of a rising fart in a urine pond between a girl’s thighs (or is it sperm in the pond?)… etc. Very busy!
        



Nu descendant un escalier N°2

(January 1912, Neuilly) AS-242
The same yet different and a whole lot more. This is madness! This is very replete: a dancing girl peeing? A masturbation or being masturbated. Waving, turning penises. A giant erection, the licking at a glans, a large vagina next to pulled up clothing, a vagina, extremely close up, and the fingering, a girl peeing while sitting on a table, making a pond (the “horse head”?). Then, acrobatics: boy on knees masturbates while fingering a girl (?) who sits with her knees on his shoulders, supporting herself with her elbows on some piece of furniture, looking at the boy in between her arms. Somewhere else she is pending from the underside of the stairs (Un nu descendant un escalier?), and he is kneeled under her. Then there is an adult woman in a dress or dressing gown (?), one time very big, another time small, displayed in the doorway. And then there is the draughty doorway, in the lower middle, slantwise… There is also, well hidden… a large boy who fucks a small girl from behind. Now this is shocking.
 
What would the title mean, when we consider it an anagram?
‘NU DESCENDANT UN ESCALIER’ has many same letters, so the possibilities seem limited. As a start for native French speakers, a series of (faulty) trials:
‘SCENE DANSANTE CUL D’URINE’ or
‘C’EST D’UN SCANDALE EN URINE’ or
‘DANSES DE CE CUL EN URINANT’ or in the ‘impératif’:
‘URINES EN DESCENDANT A CUL’ or maybe something with
‘LA DEESSE URINANTE……………’? Or something with
‘ACCIDENT’, ‘DELICT’, ‘DENUDER’, ‘DELIR’ or ‘INCESTE’ or even ‘ENCULER’?
 
Highly likely the sentence is an order. Because we often see a “toton”: that spinning top. It is turned, it falls to one side and that way shows what needs to be done. The “toton” decides: “Toton exige!”


1912 – In March ‘Nu descendant un escalier’ is refused as a cubist work by the “Puteaux”- theoretics at Le Salon des Indépendants. Because it is not consistent with their principles. Too Futuristic. In April it is shown in Barcelona on a cubist exhibition.

1912 – In May Marcel Duchamp and other Puteaux-members invite others to participate in their own Salon that bears the name “La Section d’or”, and will take place in October.

1912 – In June Marcel travels to Munich, where he goes to visit that “peintre des vaches” Max Bergmann. He stays there for three months and creates works of crucial importance there.


Vierge N°2

(July 1912, München) AS-251
In Munich Duchamp paints his last real paintings. The hidden scenes are drawn in Art-Deco style with deformations. So it is even more difficult to find things, because anything is possible. There is also text concealed…
What still can be found visually: a man licks between thighs and masturbates, a woman, legs spread with a man’s profile near her, a large penis ejaculates, a large vagina, numerous erections maybe in combination with something. A man with eyes closed, a woman’s crotch on top of his head, urine wrinkling between legs on a table. A Marcel-face between legs receives on his forehead urine drops from a vagina. There seems to be a ventilator? The spinning top is there as well.
  



Le passage de la vierge à la mariée

(July-August 1912, Munich) AS-252
Again in Art-Deco style. Because by now we know what we can expect to find, we recognise: masturbation, glans-licking, cunt-licking, urination on the table, a large vagina, spread legs with an erection alongside it, and the spinning top.
   



Mariée

(August 1912, Munich) AS-253
Now this is a puzzle! So much, and so much confusion. Also there are pieces of drawings that are interrupted. But we find: blowing at a cunt, being masturbated, licking at a glans, once small and once very big, a large vagina, licking and sniffing at a behind, the pending nude, licking at a vagina, small hand masturbates large erection, then the bubbles in the urine, again the sniffing at a fart (the nose painted hazily, funny) and also the penetration. The receiving of the urine in the face with her knees on his shoulders or acrobatics. Again the licking of the vagina and again a penetration from behind, in semi-dressed fashion, etc… etc… Very heavy stuff!
      



1912 – October 9th, opening of the first salon of La Section d’Or. Marcel exhibits 6 works, ‘Nu descendant un escalier’ amongst them.

1912 – Marcel moves from Neuilly back to Paris.
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POSSIBLE SCENARIO part 2
the aggressive exaggeration of the jealous player

Suzanne gets married in 1911. Marcel Duchamp reacts intensely with an exceptionally wild painting as a wedding gift, filled to the brim with (hidden) memories. The same memories can be seen (hidden) in his next painting, but then applied to his two younger sisters. Yvonne en Magdeleine are “déchiquetées” here! In all the following paintings the visual puzzles become overly crowded and they indeed hide the sexual relationship between an adult man and a much younger girl. The penetration could be no less than rape. True or untrue?

There is a bigger aggressiveness and inaccessibility in Duchamp’s work of 1911 and 1912. He must have spend a whole lot of time on his puzzle paintings. He hides perfectly well in the Puteaux group but for him the “Golden Section” has an entirely different meaning. He is not concerned with cubism or futurism, but only with his own jealous self. He takes more and more risks, and maybe the many erections are being noted after all. Maybe he receives comments or questions about them? The bizarre titles are a distraction. An anagram for Suzanne. Someone else will never find out. Because an anagram without a clue or key is impossible to solve. Could Suzanne understand the right message? Would she have noticed if he really abused Magdeleine “à propos”? An even bigger scandal in the family! Or was it mere bluff: a mean threat addressed to her?

Whatever the hypotheses, in both cases Marcel acted in a sick way. Maybe Magdeleine told something? Maybe Marcel Duchamp realized something? He is 25 years old and has a serious psychological problem. Inner crisis, sexual frustrations, exaggerating in work… possible rape? This is not an amusing game anymore. He wants to be treated by a psychotherapist but doesn’t choose one in Paris.

It is to be Munich. He will go to a German psychiatrist. An adept of Freud or Jung? Marcel knew their writings and their healing methods. Possibly it was hypnotherapy. With Albert Von Schrenck-Notzing, for example, the specialist in sexual anomalies. Who can tell? A hypnotherapist works under the oat of secrecy too.
The paintings Marcel Duchamp makes in Munich show, after visual analysis, very precisely the evolution from innocent sex (‘Vièrge’) to conscious lust (‘Mariée’), which agrees with Duchamp’s sex life during that last decade. Maybe the series is part of his therapy?

Strikingly little is known about Duchamp’s time in Munich. He met the painter Max Bergmann, Marcel had  given him a bilboquet early on in Paris. He rented rooms, went to the museums, churches, restaurants, bars… At one point, we are told, he travelled to the Jura to declare his love to the wife of Picabia, and immediately afterwards took a train back to Munich.
Maybe Duchamp met Kandinsky there? Maybe he asked him if blowing at urine between a woman’s thighs was part of his sexual desires as well? And if so, did he also hide them in his abstract paintings? Clearly this was the case seen through Marcel’s eyes.
Or maybe his stay in Munich was an attempt to escape those pushy Parisian cubists while hiding away in a different style group: ‘Die Blaue Reiter’?
Or did he meet Hitler? This has been claimed too!
Marcel Duchamp himself has only said one thing about his months in Munich:
that he came back a completely liberated, new person.
The therapy hypothesis seems to make most sense then.

We picture him this way, when in September he is back in his studio in Neuilly: a completely liberated, new person! Gone are the incestuous obsessions, he has learned to take off those sick glasses. He walks along his canvasses and wonders if he still has any business painting. The puzzle-paintings ask too much labour of him. It doesn’t suit him. He likes to have fun, he likes games. Then, after a while, a smile appears, his eyes twinkle: he knows what to do. “No, I don’t need to paint. But I will continue playing. To play hide and seek was great. Haven’t I tricked them? Nobody knows anything. I can continue hiding my disgusting little secrets. But not for Suzanne. For my own pleasure. And I’ll be silent again, or I’ll lie a little, I’ll keep sending them on the wrong track. That is fun. Just like playing chess. Yes, I will have fun playing games, rather without the painting… plenty of ideas. I wonder if they’ll ever find out!”
And so, he took his wondrous spectacles again, put them on his nose and stepped into art history.

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Ref.:
Gorik Lindemans (© 2012)
1911-1912 :  the aggressive exaggeration of the jealous player

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

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