Robert-Marcel Duchamp was born July 28th, 1887, near Blainville, France. He was one of six children born to Justin-Isidore and Marie-Caroline-Duchamp, four of which pursued careers in art despite the heated disapproval of their father. Nevertheless, Marcel had an artist precedent in Emile-Frederic-Nicolle, a maternal grandfather who painted and made prints (American Decades). In the beginning, as a boy in the 1890’s, he was surrounded by art—and by artist; his grandfather as we mentioned, two brothers, and a sister were all artist. His childhood home was filled with seascapes, landscapes and etchings by his grandfather. When he was fifteen, Duchamp painted in the Impressionistic style, as witnessed by a painting from 1902, “Church at Blainville,” inspired by reproductions he had seen of the works of Claude Monet (International Dictionary). Also at 15, Duchamp painted his first oil, Landscape at Blainville, 1902. “When you see so many paintings,” said Duchamp, “you’ve got to paint.” In 1904, at the age of 17, he resolved to become an artist. He could not have chosen a more exciting time. Paris was reverberating from the first Cezanne retrospective show; Matisse was experimenting with the vivid colors that would soon give birth to Fauvism; a few years later, Picasso and Braque would create Cubism (Tomkins 16). No one knew at the time that he would become one of the most influential and controversial artists of the 20th Century.
In 1904, Duchamp was graduated from the Ecole Boussuert in Rouenand moved to Paristo join his brothers. Like most young artist, Duchamp began by painting the subjects closest to him—his family and friends. It can best be seen in the captivating watercolor portraits of his sisters that he had a good grasp of conventional techniques. He received his only formal training at the Academie Julian in Paris, a sort of preparatory studio for the Ecole des Beaux – Arts. But he despised the academic atmosphere and dropped... [continues]
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