Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A collection of quotes by Marcel Duchamp on painting, colors, life, art, atheism, chess, writing, society, religion, creativity, artists, process, surreal and happiness.

110 Famous Quotes By Marcel Duchamp That Will Paint Your Life With Rainbow Colors

Quick Facts

Famous As: Artist

Born On: July 28, 1887

Died On: October 2, 1968

Born In: Blainville-Crevon

Died At Age: 81

Marcel Duchamp was a well-known French painter, sculptor, and writer known for his unconventional works. He was interested in arts since childhood and by the time he stepped into teenage he started painting remarkably and started exhibiting his paintings at famous art galleries. He went on to make various paintings before the most controversial painting of his career, the ‘Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2’. This painting faced rejection but was finally exhibited in the ‘Armory Show’ where it became the center of attraction. He further took a short break to make one of the notable paintings of his career ‘3 Standard Stoppages’. He further went on to create art with everyday objects and made his first ‘readymade’ work called ‘Bottle Rack’ which was made with a bottle. He further made many such realistic arts but the most notable one was ‘The Large Glass’. He made this in a period of eight years and is made in such a way that each piece has a hidden meaning. We have compiled the famous quotes and sayings by the ambidextrous artist. Go through the collection of quotations and thoughts by Marcel Duchamp, the man aspired to use art in order to serve the mind.

I force myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste.

Marcel Duchamp

A painting that doesn't shock isn't worth painting.

Marcel Duchamp

Words are the tools of 'to be' - of expression. They are completely built on the fact that you 'are,' and in order to express it, you have built a little alphabet, and you make your words from it.

Marcel Duchamp

I am interested in ideas, not merely in visual products.

Marcel Duchamp

A game of chess is a visual and plastic thing, and if it isn't geometric in the static sense of the word, it is mechanical, since it moves. It's a drawing; it's a mechanical reality.

Marcel Duchamp

I don't believe in art. I believe in artists.

Marcel Duchamp

It is a matter of great indifference to me what criticism is printed in the papers and the magazines. I am simply working out my own ideas in my own way.

Marcel Duchamp

Humor and laughter - not necessarily derogatory derision - are my pet tools. This may come from my general philosophy of never taking the world too seriously - for fear of dying of boredom.

Marcel Duchamp

I am against the word 'anti' because it's a little bit like 'atheist,' as compared to 'believer.' And an atheist is just as much of a religious man as the believer is.

Marcel Duchamp

Tradition is the great misleader because it's too easy to follow what has already been done - even though you may think you're giving it a kick. I was really trying to invent, instead of merely expressing myself.

Marcel Duchamp

I was never interested in looking at myself in an aesthetic mirror. My intention was always to get away from myself, though I knew perfectly well that I was using myself. Call it a little game between 'I' and 'me.'

Marcel Duchamp

One must pass through the network of influence. One is obligated to be influenced, and one accepts this influence very naturally. From the start, one doesn't realize this. The first thing to know: one doesn't realize one is influenced. One thinks he is already liberated, and one is far from it!

Marcel Duchamp

What art is, in reality, is this missing link, not the links which exist. It's not what you see that is art; art is the gap.

Marcel Duchamp

It's a product of two poles - there's the pole of the one who makes the work, and the pole of the one who looks at it. I give the latter as much importance as the one who makes it.

Marcel Duchamp

Marcel, no more painting; go get a job.

Marcel Duchamp

I haven't been in the Louvre for twenty years. It doesn't interest me because I have these doubts about the value of the judgments which decided that all these pictures should be presented to the Louvre instead of others which weren't even considered.

Marcel Duchamp

The last hundred years have been retinal; even the cubists were. The surrealists tried to free themselves, and earlier so had the dadaists, but unfortunately, these latter were nihilists and didn't produce enough to prove their point, which, by the way, they didn't have to prove - according to their theory.

Marcel Duchamp

'Art or anti-art?' was the question I asked when I returned from Munich in 1912 and decided to abandon pure painting or painting for its own sake. I thought of introducing elements alien to painting as the only way out of a pictorial and chromatic dead end.

Marcel Duchamp

In France, in Europe, the young artists of any generation always act as grandsons of some great man - Poussin, for example, or Victor Hugo. They can't help it. Even if they don't believe in that, it gets in their system. And so when they come to produce something of their own, the tradition is nearly indestructible.

Marcel Duchamp

I refused to accept anything, doubted everything. So, doubting everything, I had to find something that had not existed before, something I had not thought of before. Any idea that came to me, the thing would be to turn it around and try to see it with another set of senses.

Marcel Duchamp

My stay in Munich was the scene of my complete liberation.

Marcel Duchamp

Everything important that I have done can be put into a little suitcase.

Marcel Duchamp

My position is the lack of a position, but, of course, you can't even talk about it; the minute you talk, you spoil the whole game.

Marcel Duchamp

What am I? Do I know? I am a man: quite simply, a 'breather.'

Marcel Duchamp

Rational intelligence is dangerous and leads to ratiocination. The painter is a medium who doesn't realize what he is doing. No translation can express the mystery of sensibility, a word, still unreliable, which is nevertheless the basis of painting or poetry, like a kind of alchemy.

Marcel Duchamp

One does not contemplate it like a picture. The idea of contemplation disappears completely. Simply take note that it's a bottle rack, or that it's a bottle rack that has changed its destination... It's not the visual question of the readymade that counts; it's the fact that it exists, even.

Marcel Duchamp

The 'Glass' is not my autobiography, nor is it self-expression. Far from it.

Marcel Duchamp

When I put a bicycle wheel on a stool, the fork down, there was no idea of a 'ready-made' or anything else. It was just a distraction. I didn't have any special reason to do it, or any intention of showing it or describing anything.

Marcel Duchamp

Painting is a language of its own. You cannot interpret one form of expression with another form of expression.

Marcel Duchamp

Can works be made which are not 'of art'?

Marcel Duchamp

If your choice enters into it, then taste is involved - bad taste, good taste, uninteresting taste. Taste is the enemy of art, A-R-T.

Marcel Duchamp

The word 'art' interests me very much. If it comes from Sanskrit, as I've heard, it signifies 'making.' Now everyone makes something, and those who make things on a canvas with a frame, they're called artists. Formerly, they were called craftsmen, a term I prefer. We're all craftsmen, in civilian or military or artistic life.

Marcel Duchamp

Words such as truth, art, veracity, or anything are stupid in themselves.

Marcel Duchamp

In the 'Nude Descending a Staircase,' I wanted to create a static image of movement: movement is an abstraction, a deduction articulated within the painting, without our knowing if a real person is or isn't descending an equally real staircase.

Marcel Duchamp

Alchemy is a kind of philosophy: a kind of thinking that leads to a way of understanding.

Marcel Duchamp

There was an incident, in 1912, which 'gave me a turn,' so to speak: when I brought the 'Nude Descending a Staircase' to the Independants, and they asked me to withdraw it before the opening.

Marcel Duchamp

I was highly attracted to chess for forty or forty-five years; then, little by little, my enthusiasm lessened.

Marcel Duchamp

Things were sort of Bohemian in Montmartre - one lived, one painted, one was a painter - all that doesn't mean anything, fundamentally.

Marcel Duchamp

Since Courbet, it's been believed that painting is addressed to the retina. That was everyone's error. The retinal shudder! Before, painting had other functions: it could be religious, philosophical, moral... our whole century is completely retinal, except for the Surrealists, who tried to go outside it somewhat.

Marcel Duchamp

All painting, beginning with Impressionism, is antiscientific, even Seurat. I was interested in introducing the precise and exact aspect of science, which hadn't often been done, or at least hadn't been talked about very much.

Marcel Duchamp

There does not exist a painter who knows himself or knows what he is doing.

Marcel Duchamp

The danger is in pleasing an immediate public: the immediate public that comes around you and takes you in and accepts you and gives you success and everything. Instead of that, you should wait for fifty years or a hundred years for your true public. That is the only public that interests me.

Marcel Duchamp

In the beginning, the cubists broke up form without even knowing they were doing it. Probably the compulsion to show multiple sides of an object forced us to break the object up - or, even better, to project a panorama that unfolded different facets of the same object.

Marcel Duchamp

If only America would realize that the art of Europe is finished - dead - and that America is the country of the art of the future, instead of trying to base everything she does on European traditions!

Marcel Duchamp

I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste.

Marcel Duchamp

For me, the 'Three Stoppages' was a first gesture liberating me from the past.

Marcel Duchamp

Art doesn't interest me. Only artists interest me.

Marcel Duchamp

Art is all a matter of personality.

Marcel Duchamp

I'm nothing else but an artist, I'm sure, and delighted to be.

Marcel Duchamp

The individual - man as a man, man as a brain, if you like - interests me more than what he makes because I've noticed that most artists only repeat themselves.

Marcel Duchamp

Chess can be described as the movement of pieces eating one another.

Marcel Duchamp

Living is more a question of what one spends than what one makes.

Marcel Duchamp

There is something like an explosion in the meaning of certain words: they have a greater value than their meaning in the dictionary.

Marcel Duchamp

I shy away from the word 'creation.' In the ordinary, social meaning of the word - well, it's very nice, but fundamentally, I don't believe in the creative function of the artist. He's a man like any other.

Marcel Duchamp

I became a librarian at the Sainte-Genevieve Library in Paris. I made this gesture to rid myself of a certain milieu, a certain attitude, to have a clean conscience, but also to make a living. I was twenty-five. I had been told that one must make a living, and I believed it.

Marcel Duchamp

When you make a painting, even abstract, there is always a sort of necessary filling-in.

Marcel Duchamp

I didn't abandon everything at a moment's notice - on the contrary. I returned to France from America, leaving the 'Large Glass' unfinished.

Marcel Duchamp

In chess, there are some extremely beautiful things in the domain of movement, but not in the visual domain. It's the imagining of the movement or of the gesture that makes the beauty in this case.

Marcel Duchamp

I really had no program or any established plan. I didn't even ask myself if I should sell my paintings or not.

Marcel Duchamp

One is a painter because one wants so-called freedom; one doesn't want to go to the office every morning.

Marcel Duchamp

What would I do with money? I have enough for my needs. I don't want any more. If I had a lot, I would have to care for it, worry about it.

Marcel Duchamp

The curious thing about the Ready-Made is that I've never been able to arrive at a definition or explanation that fully satisfies me. There's still magic in the idea, so I'd rather keep it that way than try to be exoteric about it.

Marcel Duchamp

I happen to have been born a Cartesian. The French education is based on a sequence of strict logic. You carry it with you.

Marcel Duchamp

Why are all the artists so dead-set on distorting? It seems to be a reaction against photography, but I'm not sure.

Marcel Duchamp

Painter after painter, since the beginning of the century, has tended toward abstraction. First, the Impressionists simplified the landscape in terms of color, and then the Fauves simplified it again by adding distortion, which, for some reason, is a characteristic of our century.

Marcel Duchamp

The entire world of art has reached such a low level, it has been commercialized to such a degree that art and everything related to it has become one of the most trivial activities of our epoch.

Marcel Duchamp

From a purely ethnological point of view, I was not a period-born Dada.

Marcel Duchamp

Dada was an extreme protest against the physical side of painting. It was a metaphysical attitude.

Marcel Duchamp

When the vision of the 'Nude' flashed upon me, I knew that it would break forever the enslaving chains of Naturalism.

Marcel Duchamp

I never finished the 'Large Glass' because, after working on it for eight years, I probably got interested in something else; also, I was tired. It may be that, subconsciously, I never intended to finish it because the word 'finish' implies an acceptance of traditional methods and all the paraphernalia that accompany them.

Marcel Duchamp

Distortion came first from the fauves, who, in turn, were under the strong influence of primitive art.

Marcel Duchamp

Man can never expect to start from scratch; he must start from ready-made things, like even his own mother and father.

Marcel Duchamp

The individual, man as a man, man as a brain, if you like, interests me more than what he makes, because I've noticed that most artists only repeat themselves.

Marcel Duchamp

My Ready-Mades have nothing to do with the 'objet trouve' because the so-called 'found object' is completely directed by personal taste. Personal taste decides that this is a beautiful object and is unique.

Marcel Duchamp

It is curious to note how fragile the memory is, even for the important times in one's life. This is, moreover, what explains the fortunate fantasy of history.

Marcel Duchamp

Destruction is also creation.

Marcel Duchamp

I like living, breathing better than working...my art is that of living. Each second, each breath is a work which is inscribed nowhere, which is neither visual nor cerebral, it's a sort of constant euphoria.

Marcel Duchamp

I would have to think about it for two or three months before I decided to do something which would have meaning. And it would have to be more than just an impression or pleasure. I would need an objective, a meaning. That is the only thing that could help me.

Marcel Duchamp

In French, there is an old expression, la patte, meaning the artist's touch, his personal style, his 'paw'. I wanted to get away from la patte and from all that retinal painting.

Marcel Duchamp

Art is either plagiarism or revolution.

Marcel Duchamp

The great problem was the selection of the readymade. I needed to choose an object without it impressing me: that is to say, without it providing any sort of aesthetic delectation. Moreover, I needed to reduce my own personal taste to absolute zero.

Marcel Duchamp

Do unto others as they wish, but with imagination.

Marcel Duchamp

The basis for my own work during the years just before coming to America in 1915 was a desire to break up forms - to 'decompose' them much along the lines the cubists had done. But I wanted to go further - much further - in fact, in quite another direction altogether.

Marcel Duchamp

I came to feel an artist might use anything - a dot, a line, the most conventional or unconventional symbol - t say what he wanted to say.

Marcel Duchamp

To all appearances, the artist acts like a mediumistic being who, from the labyrinth beyond time and space, seeks his way out to a clearing.

Marcel Duchamp

I feel shame, not for the wrong things I have done, but for the right things that I have failed to do.

Marcel Duchamp

In the midst of each epoch, I fully realize that a new epoch will dawn.

Marcel Duchamp

What I have in mind is that art may be bad, good or indifferent, but, whatever adjective is used, we must call it art, and bad art is still art in the same way that a bad emotion is still an emotion.

Marcel Duchamp

Artists of all times are like the gamblers of Monte Carlo, and this blind lottery allows some to succeed and ruins others. In my opinion, neither the winners nor the losers are worth worrying about.

Marcel Duchamp

Art is not about itself but the attention we bring to it.

Marcel Duchamp

I wanted to use my possibility to be an individual, and I suppose I have, no?

Marcel Duchamp

If a shadow is a two-dimensional projection of the three-dimensional world, then the three-dimensional world as we know it is the projection of the four-dimensional Universe.

Marcel Duchamp

Art is a habit-forming drug. Art has absolutely no existence as veracity, as truth. People always speak of it with this great, religious reverence, but why should it be so revered?

Marcel Duchamp

I am afraid to end up being in need to sell canvases - in other words, to be a society painter.

Marcel Duchamp

You have to approach something with indifference, as if you had no aesthetic emotion. The choice of readymades is always based on visual indifference and, at the same time, on the total absence of good or bad taste.

Marcel Duchamp

When cubism began to take a social form, Metzinger was especially talked about. He explained cubism, while Picasso never explained anything. It took a few years to see that not talking was better than talking too much.

Marcel Duchamp

I couldn't go into the haphazard drawing or the paintings, the splashing of paint. I wanted to go back to a completely dry drawing, a dry conception of art.

Marcel Duchamp

Gravity is not controlled physically in us by one of the 5 ordinary senses. We always reduce a gravity experience to an autocognizance, real or imagined, registered inside us in the region of the stomach.

Marcel Duchamp

The most interesting thing about artists is how they live

Marcel Duchamp

Possible reality [is obtained] by slightly bending physical and chemical laws.

Marcel Duchamp

My idea was to chose an object that wouldn't attract me, either by its beauty or by its ugliness. To find a point of indifference in my looking at it, you see

Marcel Duchamp

There is no solution because there is no problem.

Marcel Duchamp

I am still a victim of chess. It has all the beauty of art - and much more. It cannot be commercialized. Chess is much purer than art in its social position. (On giving up art to play chess)

Marcel Duchamp

Among our articles of lazy hardware, I recommend the faucet that stops dripping when no one is listening to it.

Marcel Duchamp