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Francis M. Naumann

Francis M. Naumann is a scholar, curator, art historian and former art dealer specializing in the Dada and Surrealist periods. He has written numerous articles, books, and exhibition catalogues, including New York Dada 1915-23 (1994), considered the definitive history of the movement. He is author of Marcel Duchamp: The Art of Making Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (1999), co-author of Marcel Duchamp: The Art of Chess (2009), and Affectionately, Marcel: The Selected Correspondance of Marcel Duchamp (2000). His collected writings on Duchamp were published as The Recurrent, Haunting Ghost: Essays on the Art, Life and Legacy of Marcel Duchamp (2012).

First Encounters with Marcel Duchamp

My first comprehension of a readymade was so momentous and life-altering that it is etched into my memory with such permanence that it seems to have happened yesterday, when, in actual fact, it occurred when I was eighteen years old, now some fifty-eight years ago.

Marcel Duchamp Slept Here

During the winter of 2008 – 2009, the city of Buenos Aires hosted the first exhibition devoted to Marcel Duchamp held in Argentina, meant, essentially, to commemorate the artist’s nine-month sojourn there in 1918 – 19.

Pure Meshuggah: Anti-Semitism Invades Art History

In my four decades working in New York as an art historian, teacher and art dealer, I never imagined that racist politics and white supremacist viewpoints could contaminate my profession.

The Papers Chase

In 1979, I learned that the archives of author Henri-Pierre Roché (1879 – 1959) were in the collection of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC) at the University of Texas at Austin.

What is Art?

The notion of what constitutes a work of art is as old as the concept of art itself. We were under the impression that we had it all figured out until the early years of the 20th century, when, adopting a pseudonym, a 29-year-old French artist submitted a commercially manufactured object to an art exhibition in New York and forced us to ask the question all over again.

Lit de Marcel

For those interested in the private life of Marcel Duchamp, Ruth Brandon’s Spellbound by Marcel: Duchamp, Love and Art, might come as a welcomed contribution to the extant literature on the artist. Although we already knew something about this subject—thanks, in part, to the definitive biography on the artist by Calvin Tomkins (from which this book draws heavily)—this is the first time an author has carefully read the unpublished diaries of Duchamp’s two closest friends during his early years in New York.

Hugh Eakin’s Picasso’s War: How Modern Art Came to America

The title of this book—Picasso's War: How Modern Art Came to America—is a misnomer, because it implies that the struggle to bring modern art to America was Picasso’s. But as this book demonstrates more poignantly than perhaps any other, the artist did virtually nothing himself to promote or in other ways encourage the advancement of his work in the United States. In fact, he was at best indifferent.


The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2023

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