Tu m' Artist: Marcel Duchamp (American, born France, 1887–1968)


Modern and Contemporary Art

On view, 3rd floor, Modern and Contemporary Art and Design

Tu m' was commissioned by artist, collector, and educator Katherine Dreier to be hung over a bookcase in her library, hence the unusual length and frieze-like shape of the work. Executed in 1918, it is Marcel Duchamp's last painting on canvas and sums up his previous artistic concerns. Ranging across the canvas from left to right are cast shadows that refer to three "ready-mades": a bicycle wheel, a corkscrew, and a hat rack. Several objects are rendered illusionistically, such as a painted hand with a pointed finger in the lower center. Providing counterpoints to these trompe l'oeil elements are real objects: a bottle brush, a bolt, and safety pins. Duchamp summarizes different ways in which a work of art can suggest reality: as shadow, imitation, or actual object. The title lends a sarcastic tone to the work, for the words, perhaps short for the French "tu m'emmerdes" (you annoy me) or "tu m'ennuies" (you bore me), seem to express his attitude toward painting as he was casting it aside.


Oil on canvas, with bottlebrush, safety pins, and bolt


27 1/2 × 119 5/16 in. (69.8 × 303 cm)
framed: 28 3/4 × 124 1/4 × 2 1/4 in. (73 × 315.6 × 5.7 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of the Estate of Katherine S. Dreier

Accession Number



20th century


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 records is ongoing.



Bequest of Katherine Dreier
  • American Art: Selections from the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2023), 25, 210–213, no. 98, ill
  • Cynthia Schwarz, "The Société Anonyme Collection and the Finer Forces of the Conservation of Modern Paintings," in "The Société Anonyme at 100," special issue, Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2020–21), 106, 110, fig. 2
  • Cécile Debray, ed., Marcel Duchamp: la peinture, même, exh. cat. (Paris: Centre Georges Pompidou, 2014), 268–69, 272–73, ill
  • Rachel Palacios, "Involving Us Again for the First Time," Art New England 33, no. 5 (September/October 2012), 34–35, ill
  • Janine A. Mileaf, Please Touch: Dada and Surrealist Objects after the Readymade (Hanover, N.H.: Dartmouth College, 2010), 24, 30–31, 50–51, pl. 5
  • Richard Meyer, "'Big, Middle-Class Modernism'," October 131 (Winter 2010), 86–95, ill
  • Francine Savard, exh. cat. (Montreal: Musee d'art contemporain de Montreal, 2009), 67, ill
  • Michael R. Taylor, Marcel Duchamp: Étant donnés, exh. cat. (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2009), 133, fig. 3.4
  • Janine A. Mileaf and Francis M. Naumann, Inventing Marcel Duchamp: The Dynamics of Portraiture, eds. Anne Collins Goodyear and James W. McManus, exh. cat. (Washington, D.C.: National Portrait Gallery, 2009),
  • Lars Blunck, Duchmaps Präzisionsoptik (Munich: Silke Schreiber, 2008), 153
  • Marsden Hartley and New Mexico: The Search for American Modernism, exh. cat. (Santa Fe: Yale University Press, 2008),
  • Briony Fer, "Eva Hesse and Color," October 119 (Winter 2007), 29, ill
  • Jennifer Gross, Kristin Baker: Surge and Shadow, exh. cat. (New York: Deitch Projects, New York, 2007), 13, fig. 18
  • Jane Hammond, Jane Hammond: Paper Work, exh. cat. (South Hadley, Mass.: Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, 2006),
  • Imants Tillers: One World/Many Visions, exh. cat. (Canberra, Australia: National Gallery of Australia, 2006),
  • Ruth L. Bohan et al., The Société Anonyme: Modernism for America, ed. Jennifer Gross, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2006), 19, fig. 3
  • Dada, exh. cat. (Paris: Editions du Centre Pompidou, 2005), 376–77, ill
  • The Shadow, exh. cat. (Soro, Denmark: Vestsjaellands Kunstmuseum, 2005), ill
  • James Elkins, Master Narratives and Their Discontents (New York: Routledge, 2005), ill
  • Leah Dickerman et al., Dada: Zurich, Berlin, Hannover, Cologne, New York, Paris, exh. cat. (Washington D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 2005),
  • Dorothy Kosinski, Dialogues: Cornell, Duchamp, Johns, Rauschenberg, exh. cat. (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art, 2005), 72, ill
  • Jasper Johns Catenary, exh. cat. (New York: Matthew Marks Gallery, 2005), 13, ill
  • Thomas Crow, Robert Rauschenberg: Combines, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 2005), 203
  • Drawing from the Modern, 2, exh. cat. (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2004), ill
  • Russell Ferguson, The Undiscovered Country, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: Hammer Museum, 2004), 58, ill
  • Isabel Wallace, "From Painting's Death to the Death of Painting," Journal of the Theoretical Humanities 7, no. 1 (April 2002), 133–55, ill
  • Susan B. Matheson, Art for Yale: A History of the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2001), 126–27, fig. 123
  • Francis M. Naumann, Making Mischief: Dada Invades New York, exh. cat. (New York: Prentice Hall, 1996), 106–7, 292, ill
  • Francis M. Naumann and F. F. Sherman, "The Bachelor's Quest," Art in America (September 1993), 76-77, ill
  • 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), 230, no. 233, ill
  • Jack Burnham, "Unveiling the Consort, Part II," Artforum 9, no. 8 (April 1971), 50-51, ill
  • William Rubin, Dada, Surrealism, and Their Heritage, exh. cat. (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1968), 20, ill
  • Richard Hamilton, The Almost Complete Works of Marcel Duchamp, exh. cat. (London: The Arts Council of Great Britain, 1966), 88–89, ill
  • William C. Seitz, The Art of Assemblage, exh. cat. (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1961), 45, ill
  • Inaugural Exhibition, exh. cat. (Houston: Fort Worth Art Center, 1954),
  • George Heard Hamilton, "Anonyme No Longer," Artnews 51, no. 9 (January 1953), 60, ill
Object copyright
Additional information




Signed l.r. "Tu m' Marcel Duchamp 1918"
The hand l.c. was painted by a professional sign painter who signed it in pencil "A. Klang"

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