MoMA
Marcel Duchamp. The Passage from Virgin to Bride. Munich, July-August 1912
Marcel Duchamp

The Passage from Virgin to Bride

Munich, July-August 1912
On view
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
23 3/8 x 21 1/4" (59.4 x 54 cm)
Credit
Purchase
Object number
174.1945
Copyright
© 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris / Estate of Marcel Duchamp

In that this painting oscillates between the mechanical and the bodily, one can understand it as Duchamp's deadpan response to the emergence of abstract art, dubbed "pure painting" by the artist and critic Guillaume Apollinaire. Duchamp subsequently explained that he wanted to turn this idea of purity into eroticism, which he said "would be a new artistic 'ism.'" He made the work during a stay in Munich in the summer of 1912, where he encountered the art of Kandinsky and read the Russian artist’s book On the Spiritual in Art, a treatise on abstraction. Countering Kandinsky’s vision of abstract art as a means for elevating the soul, Duchamp suggested that the sensual appeal of a painting such as The Passage from Virgin to Bride functioned analogously with sexuality. "Eroticism is close to life," Duchamp said, "closer than philosophy or anything like that, it’s an animal thing that has many facets and is pleasing to use, as you would use a tube of paint."

Gallery label from Inventing Abstraction, 1910–1925, December 23, 2012–April 15, 2013
Provenance information
The artist, 1912 – 1915
Walter Pach, New York. Gift of the artist, 1915 – 1945
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchased from Walter Pach, 1945

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Image permissions

In order to effectively service requests for images, The Museum of Modern Art entrusts the licensing of images of works of art in its collections to the agencies Scala Archives and Art Resource. As MoMA’s representatives, these agencies supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum's imaging studios.

All requests to reproduce works of art from MoMA's collection within North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico) should be addressed directly to Art Resource at 536 Broadway, New York, New York 10012. Telephone (212) 505-8700; fax (212) 505-2053; requests@artres.com; artres.com. Requests from all other geographical locations should be addressed directly to Scala Group S.p.A., 62, via Chiantigiana, 50012 Bagno a Ripoli/Firenze, Italy. Telephone 39 055 6233 200; fax 39 055 641124; firenze@scalarchives.com; scalarchives.com.

Requests for permission to reprint text from MoMA publications should be addressed to text_permissions@moma.org.

Related links:
Outside North America: Scala Archives
North America: Art Resource