Artist: Marcel Duchamp (American, born France, 1887–1968)
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
69.8 × 303 cm (27 1/2 × 119 5/16 in.)
framed: 73 × 315.6 × 5.7 cm (28 3/4 × 124 1/4 × 2 1/4 in.)
- Credit Line
Gift of the Estate of Katherine S. Dreier
- Accession Number
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.
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