Marcel Duchamp. The Fountain, 1917. Attribution: CC-BY-SA 2.0 Generic.

study days

Marcel Duchamp

  • Wednesday 17 July 2024
  • Lettsom House, First Floor, 11 Chandos Street, London W1G 9EB (NB: There is no lift in this building)
  • Lecturer: Ben Street

Was Marcel Duchamp the most influential artist of the twentieth century? Probably. And yet there is always more to discover in his rich and surprisingly diverse body of work. This day of lectures will take in the range of Duchamp’s output to present him as a multifaceted creative force whose influence continues to be felt in the art of our time.

Lecture 1       Painting or anti-painting?
This lecture will consider Duchamp’s relationship to painting, from his earliest works that explored the influence of Cézanne and others, through his period of cubist-inspired quasi-abstractions and to his apparent “abandonment” of painting around 1918.

Lecture 2       The found object
This lecture will consider Duchamp’s best-known artistic invention: the readymade object, presented as art. This lecture will address the range of “pure” and “assisted” readymades to think about the repercussions of these works.

Lecture 3       The artist as curator
Starting with his famous “Large Glass” piece, this lecture will look at Duchamp’s installations, firstly of his own work – in his mini-retrospective in a suitcase – and then of other artists’, such as the Surrealist exhibitions he curated.

Lecture 4       Influence / revivals / 1960s
The final lecture will discuss the revival of interest in Duchamp’s work in the 1950s by American artists; Duchamp’s authorisation of facsimiles of his own work in the 1960s; and the unveiling of his final, mysterious work in Philadelphia shortly after his death.


Ben Street is an art historian, lecturer and author of numerous books on art for children and adults. He is a researcher and tutor for the University of East Anglia and the University of Oxford and has been employed as an educator and lecturer for many museums in the UK and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

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