The Cleveland Museum of Art Borrows a Landmark Duchamp for Its Centennial

Their centennial programming is a year-long affair.

Marcel Duchamp, Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2) (1912).Photo: Courtesy of Cleveland Museum of Art.
Marcel Duchamp, Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2) (1912).
Photo: Courtesy of Cleveland Museum of Art.
Marcel Duchamp, <em>Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2)</em> (1912).<br>Photo: Courtesy of Cleveland Museum of Art.

Marcel Duchamp, Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2) (1912).
Photo: Courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Marcel Duchamp‘s Nude Descending a Staircase (No.2) is crossing Pennsylvania’s state borders for a temporary stay at the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA). The occasion? The Philadelphia Museum of Art is helping the Ohio institution celebrate its centennial anniversary.

Back in 1916, the doors to the CMA opened to the public after years of planning and construction. The CMA’s year-long anniversary programming counts a number of impressive exhibitions, events, and parties. Notably, the museum also details a special series of loaned works. “Over the course of the year,” the description reads, “visitors will encounter paintings by Titian, John Singer Sargent, Wassily Kandinsky, and Marcel Duchamp, as well as a Luba mask from the Congo, a seventeenth-century silver sculpture from Tibet, and a garland-style diamond necklace by Tiffany and Co., among other masterworks.”

The landmark painting by Duchamp, however, is especially significant it represents a turning point in artistic thought. In 1913, Nude Descending took audiences at the Armory Show in New York by storm, challenging the art world in both its form and execution.

As the CMA writes in their description: “The painting was considered radical not only because it depicted a nude woman as a mechanistic assembly of geometric planes and shapes in drab shades of brown and beige, but also because it showed the female body in dynamic motion, rather than in the traditional manner as a beautiful object in repose.”

Cleveland Museum of Art (inside).<br>Photo: Courtesy of Google Maps.

Cleveland Museum of Art (inside).
Photo: Courtesy of Google Maps.

According to the museum, other works will be borrowed from such institutions as the Art institute of Chicago, New York’s Asia Society, and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. The Getty Museum, for example, will be sending over a 1533 portrait by Titian. On April 4, the day following Duchamp’s premiere, a Tibetan sculpture from the 1600s called White Tara will be on view, courtesy of the Asia Society.

Nude Descending the Staircase only begins to scratch the surface of Philadelphia Museum of Art’s holdings by the conceptual artist, as the museum is home to an extensive collection of Duchamp’s oeuvre, from his earliest paintings to his most recognizable readymade.

Marcel Duchamp‘s Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2) will be on view at the Cleveland Museum of Art from April 5—July 3.


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