Marcel Broodthaers Department of Eagles (David–Ingres–Wiertz–Courbet) (Département des Aigles [David–Ingres–Wiertz–Courbet]) 1968

  • Not on view

With the help of industrial craftsmen, in 1968 Broodthaers began making thin, vacuum-formed plastic signs of the kind typically used for advertising. The artist, who had begun his career as a poet, used the medium to create what he termed Poèmes industriels (Industrial poems); their cryptic text and imagery subvert the clarity expected of such signs. He called these works rebuses—a form in which "reading is impeded by the image-like quality of the text and vice versa." This work and several on the adjacent wall refer to Broodthaers’s project Museum of Modern Art, Department of Eagles, a fictional museum he created between 1968 and 1972 to parody and critique official art institutions.

Gallery label from 2012.
Painted vacuum-formed plastic plate
overall: 33 1/16 x 47 11/16 x 3/16" (84 x 121.2 x 0.5 cm)
Marcel Broodthaers
Unidentified, Brussels
Partial gift of the Daled Collection and partial purchase through the generosity of Maja Oeri and Hans Bodenmann, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Agnes Gund, Marlene Hess and James D. Zirin, Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis, and Jerry I. Speyer and Katherine G. Farley
Object number
© 2024 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SABAM, Brussels / Photo: © Erwin De Muer and Cedrik Toselli
Drawings and Prints

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