One of Marcel Duchamp’s reproductions of Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”, where he penciled a beard and mustache, has sold for €632,500 ($750,000) at Sotheby’s in Paris. It was part of the sale of a collection of surrealist works owned by American Arthur Brandt, with 110 pieces fetching €3.9 millions, including commission.
However, some standout pieces, including a work by Francis Picabia, which was estimated at €700,000, did not find a buyer. Duchamp’s version of the “Mona Lisa” was one of nine works in the sale by the French artist, who is seen as the father of conceptual art.
The version that sold late Saturday was created in 1964 after the original 1919 so-called “ready-made” piece. The other Duchamp pieces on offer at the auction included “Boite-en-valise” or “Box in a Suitcase”, which beat its pre-sale estimate of €180,000 to €250,000, selling for €319,500.
Henri-Robert-Marcel Duchamp was a French-American painter, sculptor, chess player and writer whose work is associated with Cubism, conceptual art, and Dada, although he was careful about his use of the term Dada and was not directly associated with Dada groups.
Duchamp is commonly regarded, along with Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, as one of the three artists who helped to define the revolutionary developments in the plastic arts in the opening decades of the twentieth century, responsible for significant developments in painting and sculpture.
Duchamp has had an immense impact on twentieth-century and twenty-first-century art, and he had a seminal influence on the development of conceptual art. By World War I, he had rejected the work of many of his fellow artists (like Henri Matisse) as “retinal” art, intended only to please the eye. Instead, Duchamp wanted to use art to serve the mind.
Among the six pieces offered from artist and photographer Man Ray, “The Lovers”, a set of lips engraved in lead and then painted, accompanied by a rope, sold for €81,250, far above the upper pre-sale estimate of €25,000.