One could not believe that for a stretch of the Nineteenth Century, the painter Louis-Henri Deschamps and the enigmatic Marcel Duchamp (surnames whose pronunciation is so similar) lived in parallel: born in 1846 the first and in 1887 the second. But when the remarkable portraitist Deschamps died in 1902, the career of the author of the ready-made Fontaine had yet to begin (the satirical drawing Femme-cocher is dated 1907). Dadaism, Surrealism, etc. are too narrow cages for a man – with that appearance of an actor immortalized by Man Ray – who showed, playing chess, the most lucid Cartesian rationality and – in putting the moustache to the Mona Lisa (L.H.O.O.Q.: Elle a chaud au cul) – put in check the entire public perception of Art: and today no lesson, like Duchamp's one, seems to have carried out a massacre of anyone who tries to overcome it.
Dario Agazzi for SAFT