Marcel DuchampFountain 1917, replica 1964

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Artwork details

Artist
Marcel Duchamp (1887‑1968)
Title
Fountain
Date 1917, replica 1964
MediumPorcelain
Dimensionsunconfirmed: 360 x 480 x 610 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Purchased with assistance from the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1999
Reference
T07573
Not on display

Summary

Fountain is one of Duchamp's most famous works and is widely seen as an icon of twentieth-century art. The original, which is now lost, consisted of a standard urinal, laid flat on its back rather than upright in its usual position, and signed 'R. Mutt 1917'. The Tate's work is a 1964 replica and is made from glazed earthenware painted to resemble the original porcelain. The signature is reproduced in black paint. Fountain is an example of what Duchamp called a 'readymade', an ordinary manufactured object designated by the artist as a work of art. It epitomises the assault on convention and good taste for which he and the Dada movement are best known.

The idea of designating such a lowly object as a work of art came from a discussion between Duchamp and his American friends the collector Walter Arensburg and the artist Joseph Stella. Following this conversation, Duchamp bought an urinal from a plumbers' merchants, and submitted it to an exhibition organised by the Society of Independent Artists… (read more)

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