Marcel Duchamp: Etant Donnes

This is the first exhibition to examine the genesis, construction, and reception of Etant donnes: 1° la chute d'eau, 2° le gaz d'eclairage (Given: 1° The Waterfall, 2° The Illuminating Gas), Marcel Duchamp's enigmatic final masterwork that was secretly executed in New York during the last 20 years of his life and discovered in his studio soon after his death in October 1968. The exhibition will be on view from July 2009 to October 2009.

The multi-media assemblage surprised the art world and perplexed the public when, as a gift to the Museum and in accordance with the artist's wishes, it was permanently installed in July 1969, joining the world's largest collection of his works, including The Nude Descending the Staircase, No.2; The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass), to which it closely relates, and readymades such as With Hidden Noise and Why Not Sneeze Rose Selavy?

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of its public debut, Marcel Duchamp: Etant donnes will situate the extraordinary assemblage within the context of some 80 related works of art, including all the known studies, photographs, body casts, erotic objects, and other materials. Included also will be 25 photographs of the artist's studio at 80 East 11th Street, taken by a friend, Denise Brown Hare, in the mid-to-late 1960s, which document the work before it was disassembled and moved to Philadelphia. The exhibition is drawn largely from the collections and archives of the Museum, and supplemented by loans from public and private collections in the United States, France, Germany, Sweden, Israel and Japan.

Catalogue: A fully illustrated 200-page catalogue, written by Taylor and published by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in conjunction with Yale University Press, will accompany the exhibition. This publication will present important new scholarship on Etant Donnes: 1. La chute d"eau; 2. Le gaz d'eclairage…, as well as a comprehensive bibliography and chronology of its construction. -- www.philamuseum.org