Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968)
Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968)

Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2

Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968)
Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2
signed and dated 'M. Duchamp Dec. 37' (on the stamp)
pochoir-colored reproduction and French 5-centimes stamp on paper
13¾ x 7 7/8 in. (35 x 20 cm.)
Executed in Paris in December 1937
Julien Levy, Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Julien Levy Foundation.
Private collection, New York.
E. Bonk, Marcel Duchamp, The Box in a Valise, de ou par Marcel Duchamp ou Rrose Sélavy, New York, 1989.
F.M. Naumann, Marcel Duchamp, The Art of Making Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, New York, 2000, p. 135 (another example illustrated in color, fig. 5.20).
A. Schwarz, The Complete Works of Marcel Duchamp, New York, 2000, vol. 1, p. 745, no. 458 (another example illustrated).


David Kleiweg de Zwaan
David Kleiweg de Zwaan


Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2, is a re-worked version of Duchamp's masterpiece of the same title, executed in 1912 and exhibited in 1913 at the New York Armory Show, where it attracted worldwide controversy and heated publicity. The original painting is now housed in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Between 1935 and 1941, Marcel Duchamp reproduced several of his works, including the present work, to create his 'portable museum' From or by Marcel Duchamp or Rrose Sélavy (The box in a valise), which was first published in 1941. This is a proof of one of the published reproductions contained in the boxes. Compared to the published version, this work bears some slight differences, such as the size (slightly bigger), the edition (here unknown) and the fact it is signed by the artist.

Duchamp's idea of creating original works of art from reproductions opened up the complex issue concerning the boundaries between original and reproduced objects, which would became Duchamp's main focus after he renounced easel painting in 1918.