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Modern and Contemporary Art
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
Full-size image not available for download. Please contact Rights and Reproductions.
Artist: Marcel Duchamp, American, born France, 1887–1968

In Advance of the Broken Arm

1945 (replica of the lost original of 1915)

Wood and galvanized iron snow shovel

121.9 × 45.7 × 10.2 cm (48 × 18 × 4 in.)
Gift of Katherine S. Dreier to the Collection Société Anonyme
In 1915 Marcel Duchamp purchased a snow shovel in New York City and signed it, declaring it a work of art. Through this revolutionary gesture, he produced his first “Readymade,” an object that was recognized as art through the artist’s intention, selection, and presentation rather than through the object’s construction. The humorous and subversive title introduces a new context for the work, altering the viewer’s relationship with what was previously a mundane and commercial object.
On view
American, French
20th century

Societe Anonyme


Collection of the Société Anonyme: Museum of Modern Art 1920 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1950), 150.

Robert L. Herbert, Eleanor S. Apter, and Elise K. Kenney, The Société Anonyme and the Dreier Bequest at Yale University: A Catalogue Raisonné (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1984), 244, no. 241.

Ruth L. Bohan et al., The Société Anonyme: Modernism for America, ed. Jennifer Gross, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2006), 172, ill.

James Holl, The Landscape Painter: An Autobiography 1974 Through 1994 (New York: Charta, 2009), 112, pl. 104, ill.

James Holl, The Landscape Painter: An autobiography 1974 through 1994 (New York: Charta, 2009), 112, Plate 104, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.