Paul B. Franklin introduces the exhibition
Curated by Paul B. Franklin, Independent scholar and Duchamp expert
From October 14, 2023 to March 18, 2024, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection presents Marcel Duchamp and the Lure of the Copy, curated by Paul B. Franklin, a Paris-based art historian and an internationally acclaimed expert on the life and work of Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968). This is the very first exhibition at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection devoted exclusively to Duchamp, among the most influential and innovative artists of the twentieth century and a longtime friend and adviser to the American patron Peggy Guggenheim.
The show features some sixty artworks dating from 1911 to 1968. These include iconic objects from the permanent collection of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, such as Nude (Sketch), Sad Young Man in a Train (1911) and the Box in a Valise (1935–41), as well as from other Italian and American institutions, including the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Rome, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. The exhibition also presents several lesser-known artworks in private hands, including the artist’s estate. Furthermore, fully half of the pieces on display come from the distinguished Venetian collection of Attilio Codognato, who first took an interest in Duchamp’s work in the early 1970s.
In reproducing his work in different media, on various scales, and in limited editions, Duchamp illustrated that certain duplicates and the originals from which they were replicated offered comparable forms of aesthetic pleasure. In so doing, Duchamp also redefined what constitutes a work of art and, by extension, the identity of the artist. Examining the radically innovative and varied ways that Duchamp quoted himself over the course of his long career as an artist, Marcel Duchamp and the Lure of the Copy is organized in several interrelated sections. The exhibition thus offers a rare opportunity to examine a significant selection of the artist’s works in relation to one another, an exercise, as Duchamp frequently argued, essential to comprehending his aesthetic project.
The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue, published by Marsilio Arte, which contains a substantial essay by curator Paul B. Franklin.
Marcel Duchamp: Exploring the “Box in a Valise”
The last section of the show, titled Marcel Duchamp: Exploring the “Box in a Valise”, is a scientific exhibition organized by the Conservation Department of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence. This presents the results of a scientific study carried out in two stages, in 2019 and 2023, in the conservation and restoration laboratories of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, with the support of EFG Banking, an Institutional Patron of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection since 2006.
Marcel Duchamp, Nude (Sketch), Sad Young Man in a Train, December 1911 (dated 1912). Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice (Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York) © Association Marcel Duchamp, by SIAE 2023
from or by Marcel Duchamp or Rrose Sélavy, Box in a Valise, 1935-1941. Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice (Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York) © Association Marcel Duchamp, by SIAE 2023
Alongside the Marcel Duchamp and the Lure of the Copy exhibition, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection offers a varied program of collateral events that analyze, interpret, and spread knowledge about Duchamp’s artistic process to the museum’s various audiences.