By Robert Lebel. Edited by Jean-Jacques Lebel and Association Marcel Duchamp. Foreword by Harald Falckenberg. Introduction by Michaela Unterdörfer. Text by Marcel Duchamp, André Breton, Henri-Pierre Roché, Jean-Jacques Lebel, Man Ray, Michael Taylor.
Marcel Duchamp, the artist’s first legendary monograph and draft catalogue raisonné, was written by art historian and novelist Robert Lebel and published in French in 1959; later that same year, it was translated into English by George Heard Hamilton for Grove Press. The book was a cooperation between Lebel and Duchamp, and beyond Lebel’s extensive writing and bibliography, additional chapters were authored by Duchamp, H.P. Roché and André Breton. The coupling of these texts with diverse archival photographs and an illustrated compendium of Duchamp’s artworks delivered a complex and personal rendering of the artist’s life and inner circle. For the first time since its release more than 60 years ago, this landmark publication is back in circulation with Hauser & Wirth Publishers’ meticulous facsimile of the English edition, reflecting everything from its hand-tipped images to its recto-verso dust jacket appearing as close to the original as possible.
Fully authorized by artist Jean-Jacques Lebel—Robert Lebel’s son—and the Association Marcel Duchamp, the facsimile is accompanied by a supplement volume of essays and archival material that tells the story of Duchamp and Lebel’s close collaboration, and, as contributor Michael Taylor writes, how the original publication signified a “sea change in the artist’s receptivity to critical interpretation.” The supplement includes texts by both Robert and Jean-Jacques Lebel and a newly discovered note by Man Ray, among a bevy of photographs from the Lebel and Duchamp archives, extending the story presented in the 1959 edition.
Robert Lebel’s analysis of Duchamp’s oeuvre remains fresh to this day, as does the book’s design, which was personally supervised by the artist. Hauser & Wirth Publishers reanimated Marcel Duchamp with the curatorial-design firm fluid, who recast the original typefaces as digital fonts, positioning each letter and image exactly as it was in the original. To achieve a near-exact facsimile, fluid consulted with paper conservators and printers to recreate the book with modern materials that match those available in 1959. This precise production quality assures that today’s readers will experience this historic book as Marcel Duchamp and Robert Lebel intended. - Artbook