Published: June 10, 2016
PARIS — On June 6, the standout at Artcurial’s Impressionist and Modern art auction was an oil on panel painting recently declared by France as a “national treasure.” Marcel Duchamp’s “Nu sur nu,” sold well above estimate to fetch $1.4 million, benefitting its consignor, N.G.O. Médecins sans frontières (Doctors Without Borders), which sold the donated work to finance humanitarian aid.
It had come to the organization by descendants of renowned art publisher Arnold Fawcus, a close friend of Marcel Duchamp. The painting is key to understanding Duchamp’s work and was recently shown at the Centre Pompidou at the monographic exhibition dedicated to the painter in 2014. It was designed around two major ideas: appearance and nudity, which are also present in the artist’s cubist work, “Nu descendant l’escalier.”
“The piece ‘Nu sur nu’ represents an important step in the evolution of Marcel Duchamp’s work. It was painted just months before the famous ‘Nu descendant l’escalier,’ 1912, a cubic work which was celebrated at the Armory Show in New York the following year. At this time, he moved away from fauvism and was influence by symbolism. Being classed as a national treasure is an additional mark of quality for this painting, which is already quite remarkable due to its provenance,” says Bruno Jaubert, Artcurial’s director of the Impressionist and Modern art department.
For more information, www.artcurial.com.
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