*The Box in a Valise* by Marcel Duchamp.
Photo: The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

The Hirshhorn Museum Gets a Major Trove of Works by Marcel Duchamp

The gift of over 50 works is the most significant donation the museum has received since 1981

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden has announced a gift of more than 50 major historical artworks by pioneering artist Marcel Duchamp from Washington, D.C.–based collectors Aaron and Barbara Levine.

The works will be complemented by 15 portraits, related photographs, and works on paper by Duchamp’s contemporaries as well as artists he influenced, including Man Ray, Tristan Tzara, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Diane Arbus, and Irving Penn.

The Box in a Valise by Marcel Duchamp. Photo: The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

“We have been collecting conceptual art for a good part of our lives and have been involved with the Hirshhorn for nearly 20 years,” said Barbara and Aaron Levine in a statement. “This donation of art gives the public access to our collection of Duchamp works that we have lived with and loved. A free museum with nearly 1 million visitors a year is the perfect home for these artworks.”

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Among the pieces included in the gift are several of Duchamp’s famous readymades, including Hat Rack, Comb, Apolinère Enameled, With Hidden Noise, L.H.O.O.Q., and Why Not Sneeze Rose Sélavy. The collection will also include works on paper, such as Female Hanged Body, Study for the Bachelors in the Cemetery of Uniforms and Liveries, and Nine Malic Moulds.

Porte Chapeau by Marcel Duchamp. Photo: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

“In the early 20th century, Marcel Duchamp reshaped the definition of what we might consider to be art today, setting the stage for all that followed,” said Hirshhorn director Melissa Chiu. “We are so grateful to the Levines for this significant gift, which will build on the substantial holdings of modern art, including Henri Matisse, Alberto Giacometti, and Alexander Calder. This gift of artworks will enhance visitors’ understanding of Duchamp’s incomparable influence on the next generations of artists.”

The Hirshhorn, which currently has a single sculpture by Duchamp, will now have one of the most in-depth collections of the artist’s work in the country. The museum is planning an exhibition exploring Duchamp’s work in the fall of 2019.



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