Cover image for Marcel Duchamp : the art of making art in the age of mechanical reproduction
Marcel Duchamp : the art of making art in the age of mechanical reproduction
Naumann, Francis M.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Ghent : Ludion Press ; New York : Distributed by Harry N. Abrams, 1999.
Physical Description:
331 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 31 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
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N6853.D8 N39 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

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In 1918 Marcel Duchamp stopped painting and spent much of the next 50 years exploring alternatives to traditional artistic practices. This book shows how appropriation and replication were central to his art, examining the significance of the many replicas Duchamp produced or authorized.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

With so many recent books on the artist, including a nearly definitive biography (Duchamp, LJ 12/96) and a newly revised catalogue raisonn (The Complete Works of Marcel Duchamp, LJ 9/15/97), one may question the need for a volume ostensibly focusing on the collection of Belgium gallerist Ronny van de Velde. But this contribution by renowned Dada scholar Naumann brings a fresh focus on Duchamp's interests in reproduction and appropriation and is thus a welcome addition. In highly readable prose, Naumann recounts the artist's career in chronological chapters, emphasizing both his early use of printing techniques to undermine deliberately his own career in painting and his later readymades and variant reproductions. Throughout, Naumann clearly shows how Duchamp harnessed mechanical reproduction paradoxically in the service of his constant striving not to repeat himself. Meticulously laid out and adorned with 440 illustrations (200 in color) of objects in van de Velde's collection and other seminal works, the book can serve equally the newcomer and the devotee. Highly recommended.--Douglas McClemont, New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Independent scholar Naumann offers a luxuriously presented study of the ways in which a man driven by a passion for novelty employed processes of replication to give physical substance to his creative fancies. The author of Making Mischief: Dada Invades New York (CH, Jun'97) and numerous articles on Duchamp traces that lifetime pursuit and its widespread influence in nine chronologically ordered chapters and an epilogue. His account begins with Duchamp's "early experiences with print making" (1902-5) and his transition from traditional modes of expression into Dada (1915-23). Two decades after he moved from New York to Paris, where so many of his seminal ventures were initiated, he returned to the US and spent the rest of his life there, ingeniously exploiting those novelties. Naumann's treatise is a mine of information and insight into the activities of a Delphic figure, whose posthumous influence continues to grow--as he himself predicted it would. Hence we can agree with Naumann and others that the essential "originality" Duchamp confronts us with resides less in the works he generated--the replicas, "found objects," "ready-mades," and other novelties--than in his own fugitive presence as a radical individualist who was himself truly irreplaceable. Richly documented. General readers; upper-division undergraduates through professionals. F. A. Trapp; Amherst College