Marcel Duchamp - Roue de Bicyclette

1986 - Schenkung der Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst

The purchase of Roue de Bicyclette, 1913/1964, by the French-American artist Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968) in 1988 was the first acquisition by the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst for the Museum Ludwig.

Marcel Duchamp: Roue de Bicyclette, 1913/1964, installation view Museum Ludwig © The Estate of Marcel Duchamp / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017

Roue de Bicyclette, 1913/1964
Roue de Bicyclette (Bicycle Wheel) is a replica of Duchamp’s first ready-made from 1913, which, according to the artist, had been destroyed. On the seat of the white-painted, wooden stool, Duchamp mounted a solitary, upside-down bicycle fork and wheel, which spins when prompted.
With the invention of the ready-made, Duchamp broke with a tradition in art: by declaring found everyday objects as art, and only occasionally signing these, he left it to the viewer to ascribe to the object the status of a work. The artist is thus called into question as the first recourse with regard to his or her own work, while the viewer is simultaneously introduced as an authority.
The piece that entered the collection of the Museum Ludwig in 1988 as an acquisition and donation by the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst was produced by Galleria Schwarz, Milan, in cooperation with Duchamp, who personally signed each of the eight pieces in the edition. Since its acquisition, this iconic art historical object has continued to enrich the collection of the Museum Ludwig.