Marcel Duchamp first submitted Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 (1912. Oil on canvas. 57 7/8″ x 35 1/8″. Philadelphia Museum of Art.) to appear at the Cubist Salon des Indépendants, with artists such as Picasso and Braque. Jurist Albert Gleizes asked Duchamp’s brothers to have him voluntarily withdraw the painting, or to paint over the title that he had painted on the work and rename it something else. Duchamp, my hero, refused.
He later submitted the painting to the 1913 “Armory Show” in New York City. The exhibition was officially named the International Exhibition of Modern Art, displayed works of American artists, and was also the first major exhibition of modern trends coming out of Paris. American show-goers, accustomed to realistic art, were scandalized by the exhibit as a whole, but the Nude was singled out as representative of the degenerative nature of this new art.
Duchamp, twice my hero, was impressed and moved there, and soon after abandoned painting all together for other forms of self-expression. One of my dreams is to live in New York City for a year, research Duchamp and his time in America, and write a partial biography entitled: Marcel Duchamp: Between The Wars. 1919-1939.
Post Scriptum: Duchamp died in 1968, the year I was born. I used to like to imagine I was Duchamp re-incarnated, except that I was born in January and he died in April. C’est La Vie. Or should I say Rose C’est La Vie.