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The Duchamp Siblings: Artists and Innovators

Born into a family with an artistic heritage, four of the seven children of Eugene and Lucie Duchamp would become influential artists in France at the beginning of the 20th century as modern art movements developed across Europe. Their creativity and innovation brought them all international recognition and success. Jacques Villon (1875-1963) was the eldest, followed by Raymond Duchamp-Villon (1876-1918), Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), and Suzanne Duchamp-Crotti (1889-1963). The Duchamps were a close-knit family who enjoyed work and leisure time together, first in their native Normandy, and later in Paris where they all pursued their careers. In 1894, Jacques and Raymond moved to Paris, Jacques to study law and Raymond to study medicine at the Sorbonne. Jacques, whose birth name was Gaston Duchamp, changed his name while living in Montmartre to distinguish himself from his siblings. Losing interest in a legal career, Jacques pursued his art career full-time, first as a graphic artist and then as a very talented printmaker. At the same time, Raymond began to pursue his interest in sculpture after rheumatic fever forced him to abandon his studies in 1898. He, too, chose to distinguish himself by using the hyphenated ‘Duchamp-Villon’ as his last name. Marcel Duchamp followed his brothers to Paris and together at Jacques’ home would host gatherings of fellow artists interested in the new ideas of Cubism. Both Jacques and Raymond would embrace Cubism and work within its tenets for much of their careers. Marcel moved on from his early explorations of Cubism to innovate and experiment with new avant-garde styles, in particular Dada and Kinetic art, and his introduction of “ready mades.”. He is widely considered one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Marcel and his younger sister, Suzanne, were very close and his influence on her artistic career is evident in her early work, and later in her focus on Dada. Suzanne married Swiss artist Jean Crotti in 1919. Marcel sent them a readymade as a wedding gift. Suzanne’s work was significant in the development of the Paris Dada movement but because she was a woman, she was often in the shadow of her artist brothers and husband. Marcel married Teeny Matisse, the former wife of renowned gallerist Pierre Matisse, son of Henri Matisse, thus joining together two dynastic art families.

Time & Location

The Matisse Legacy: Works Formerly in the Collection of Jacquelyn Miller Matisse on Thursday, October 20 at 11am

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