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Marcel Duchamp

Duchamp, Marcel (1887–1968), French artist, a pioneer of dadaism, cubism, and futurism, initially influenced by Paul Cézanne. Duchamp often used common objects as art. This is the so-called “ready-made” art, which includes the well-known controversial Fountain—nothing more than an ordinary toilet. The motive behind such displays was to propel the viewer into examining his or her criteria for art. His Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 (1912), made up of superimposed images to suggest movement rather than to represent a figure, shocked the U.S. public. Having settled in New York in 1915, he became a U.S. citizen in 1955.

See also: Dada; Surrealism.

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