Marcel Duchamp: The Making of the Book

A look into the creation of the new English edition of ‘Marcel Duchamp,’ the 1959 landmark

  • Nov 26, 2021

The author Henri-Pierre Roché once wrote aptly of Marcel Duchamp: ‘His finest work is his use of time.’

One of Duchamp’s more enduring achievements in this sense was his understanding of time’s elastic, elongated relationship with art. In a 1971 interview, he said: ‘The danger is in pleasing an immediate public: the immediate public that comes around you and takes you in and accepts you and gives you success and everything. Instead of that, you should wait for fifty years or a hundred years for your true public. That is the only public that interests me.’

Marcel Duchamp signing the labels EAU & GAZ À TOUS LES ÉTAGES for the deluxe edition of ‘Sur Marcel Duchamp’ at the Trianon Press offices, Paris, September 23, 1958. Photograph by Richard Lusby. Marcel Duchamp Archives, Paris.

'Marcel Duchamp,' artwork by Marcel Duchamp © Association Marcel Duchamp / ProLitteris, Zurich, 2021, courtesy Hauser & Wirth Publishers

Sixty-one years after the first and only publication in English of ‘Marcel Duchamp,’ the definitive monograph of the artist’s work, created collaboratively by Duchamp and his close friend Robert Lebel, the book is now reemerging for a new public, perhaps the one that Duchamp (1887-1968) so patiently awaited.

This short documentary film chronicles the painstaking, letter-by-letter process that went into Hauser & Wirth Publisher’s project of republishing the monograph in an edition faithful to both the spirit and the physical object of the original, the culmination of years of efforts by the artist Jean-Jaques Lebel, Robert Lebel’s son, to bring the influential and increasingly rare English edition back into the world.

‘Marcel Duchamp’ is now available from Hauser & Wirth Publishers. Purchase the title here.