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Bottle Rack (Porte-Bouteilles)

A work made of galvanized iron.

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  • A work made of galvanized iron.




Marcel Duchamp
American, born France, 1887–1968

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.”


On View, Gallery 395


Modern Art


Marcel Duchamp


Bottle Rack (Porte-Bouteilles)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1958–1959


Galvanized iron


Inscribed on inner side of bottom ring: “Impossible de me rappeler la phrase originale M.D./ Marcel Duchamp/1960”


Diameter at base: 59.1 × 36.8 cm (23 5/16 × 14 1/2 in.); 59.1 × 36.2 cm (23 1/4 × 14 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

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

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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