Marcel Duchamp and Moderna Museet
The Moderna Museet collection has some 30 works by Marcel Duchamp. This makes our Duchamp collection one of the world’s finest, alongside that of the Philadelphia Museum in the USA. Moderna Museet also has some of the earliest replicas. In this and the following gallery, Duchamp is presented together with his contemporary dada artists, and on his own – demonstrating Duchamp’s constant relevance. Time caught up with his ground-breaking work when art found new paths after the Second World War, from its former focus on skill towards concepts and ideas.
Marcel Duchamp came into contact with Moderna Museet in connection with the exhibition Movement in Art (1961). The Museum’s director at the time, Pontus Hultén, wanted to borrow The Large Glass from Philadelphia, but this was not possible, so Ulf Linde (1929-2013) and the artist Per Olof Ultvedt (1927-2006) were commissioned to reconstruct this work. Their replica, which was signed by Duchamp, is shown in the next room. Yet another version was created by Linde for a major retrospective in 1993. Linde had a background as a jazz musician, art critic and teacher at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm.
Movement in Art was a collaboration with Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. The idea was based on a few smaller exhibitions in the 1950s in Stockholm and Paris that showed what modern art could be in a new era. Ten works by Marcel Duchamp were included in Movement in Art, which toured from Amsterdam to Stockholm in spring 1961. Duchamp arrived in time for the opening in Stockholm and stayed for ten days.
Four of the Duchamp works in that exhibition were reconstructions from 1960 or 1961, and three of these are still in the collection: The Bride Undressed By Her Bachelors, Even (the real title of The Large Glass), Rotary Glass Plaques, Bicycle Wheel, and Fresh Widow. In 1963, Ulf Linde decided to make further replicas of Duchamp’s readymades. The artist gave his approval and signed them when they were shown in exhibitions around the world.
The reconstruction of The Large Glass – which Linde completed in close consultation with Duchamp, who later signed it – marked the beginning of Linde’s lifelong fascination for Marcel Duchamp’s artistic oeuvre. This is one of Duchamp’s most famous and enigmatic works, and it corresponds with ideas he formulates in his La boîte verte, the miniature museum shown in the next room.