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Bicycle WheelEnlarge image

Bicycle Wheel, 1913, 6th version 1964

Marcel Duchamp
French, 1887 - 1968
bicycle fork with wheel mounted on painted wooden stool
126 x 64 x 31.5 cm overall; stool: 53 x 31.5 x 31.5 cm; wheel: 74 x 64 x 14.5 cm
Purchased 1971
National Gallery of Canada (no. 29947)
© Estate of Marcel Duchamp / ADAGP / SODRAC

Duchamp called into question what defines a work of art by modifying or repositioning select fabricated objects. This is his first readymade, which he created with a bicycle wheel and fork, and a kitchen stool, producing a "machine" that does not work. By creating art out of manufactured items, he rejected established notions of aesthetic value and the process of creativity. Reflecting on his readymades in 1968, he said: "They look trivial, but they're not. On the contrary, they represent a much higher degree of intellectuality."

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