Marcel Duchamp. To Be Looked at (from the Other Side of the Glass) with One Eye, Close to, for Almost an Hour. Buenos Aires 1918
Marcel Duchamp

To Be Looked at (from the Other Side of the Glass) with One Eye, Close to, for Almost an Hour

Buenos Aires 1918
On view
Oil, silver leaf, lead wire, and magnifying lens on glass (cracked), mounted between panes of glass in a standing metal frame, 20 1/8 x 16 1/4 x 1 1/2" (51 x 41.2 x 3.7 cm), on painted wood base, 1 7/8 x 17 7/8 x 4 1/2" (4.8 x 45.3 x 11.4 cm)
Overall 22" (55.8 cm) high
Katherine S. Dreier Bequest
Object number
© 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris / Estate of Marcel Duchamp
Painting and Sculpture

The title of this work, which Duchamp said he "intended to sound like an oculist’s prescription," tells the viewer exactly how to look at it. But peering through the convex lens embedded in the work’s glass "for almost an hour” would have a hallucinatory effect, the view being dwarfed, flipped, and otherwise distorted. Meanwhile the viewer patiently following the title's instruction is him- or herself put on display for anyone else walking by. Duchamp called To Be Looked At . . . his "small glass," to distinguish it from his famous Large Glass of 1915–23. He made the work in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he had fled earlier in 1918 to escape the oppressive atmosphere of the United States during World War I. When he shipped it back to New York, the glass cracked in transit, an effect that delighted him.

Gallery label from Inventing Abstraction, 1910–1925, December 23, 2012–April 15, 2013

Provenance Research Project
This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.
The artist
Katherine S. Dreier (d. 1952), West Redding, Connecticut. [Purchased from Duchamp], by 1936
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Katherine S. Dreier Bequest, 1953

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This work is on view on Floor 5, in Painting and Sculpture I, Gallery 5, with 18 other works online.
Marcel Duchamp has 41 works online.
There are 1,357 sculptures online.