About this artwork
Marcel Duchamp began his career as a painter of conventional portraits and nudes. By 1912, however, he set out to prove the end of “retinal art”—pictures created to delight the eye—in order to “put painting once again at the service of the mind.” His answer was the “readymade,” an ordinary object transformed into a work of art by virtue of the artist selecting it. Taken out of context, repositioned, and signed by the artist, the readymade upended tradition and artistic convention by revolutionizing the way we think about what an artwork is, how it is produced, and the ways in which it is exhibited.
In 1914 Duchamp purchased this mass-produced bottle rack at a department store. He felt free to acquire new versions for exhibitions and display after his sister accidentally discarded the “original.” He selected the present version for the 1959 exhibition Art and the Found Object in New York. Artist Robert Rauschenberg acquired Bottle Rack and asked Duchamp to sign it. He obliged, writing in French, “Impossible for me to recall the original phrase M.D. / Marcel Duchamp /1960.”
- Marcel Duchamp
- Bottle Rack (Porte-Bouteilles)
- Galvanized iron
- 59.1 × 36.8 cm (23 1/4 × 14 1/4 in.), diameter at base)
- Through prior gifts of Mary and Leigh Block, Mr. and Mrs. Maurice E. Culberg, and Mr. and Mrs. James W. Alsdorf; Charles H. and Mary F. S. Worcester Collection Fund; through prior gift of Mary and Earle Ludgin Collection; Sheila Anne Morgenstern in memory of Dorothy O. Morgenstern and William V. Morgenstern; through prior bequests of Joseph Winterbotham and Mima de Manziarly Porter; Ada Turnbull Hertle and Modern Discretionary funds