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Published for The Neotrope Enterprise.     Publisher: Bengt Rooke.     April 2001. No. 24.



Leif Eriksson

This is the first chronological presentation of Marcel Duchamp´s appearance in the context of Swedish art .

This is a Revised Version of my essay published on December 10, 2000. My review is based on material related to Marcel Duchamp published in Sweden 1933-1970.
My sources are art magazines, literature magazines, essays, monographs, catalogues, and similar printed material in my archive: The Swedish Archive of Artists Books, Malmö, Sweden (SAAB). (See appendix.)

The reasons for this critical review are simple.
First, I want show how Duchamp was introduced in Sweden and by whom. Secondly I aim to trace how and when he gained public recognition, beyond the contexts of Cubism, Futurism, Dadaism, and Surrealism.

My study shows that the Swedish art world was the first to recognise this spcific quality of Duchamp´s work. In Ulf Linde´s latest book "Marcel Duchamp", Stockholm 1986 page 26 he remarks: "Pontus (Hultén) was the first who interested himself in Duchamp in this country (Sweden) and, partly, he considered the exhibition (Art in motion 1961) as a tribute to Duchamp." (1)

1. Ulf Linde, Marcel Duchamp, 1986. 2. Arturo Schwarz, ”The Complete Works of Marcel Duchamp, revised and expanded edition", 1997.

I have used Arturo Schwarz´ Critical catalogue raisonné, 1997, in "The Complete Works of Marcel Duchamp" the revised and expanded edition, Thames and Hudson, 1997, as the main reference to Duchamp’s works. In the following text an "S" for Schwarz, followed by the catalogue raisonné number, identifiers a work of Marcel Duchamp. (2)

A few notes on how Schwarz deals with Duchamp’s appearance in Sweden in his Index and Bibliography

1969 and 1997.

It is obvious that Schwarz has not understood the importance of the Swedish art context in connection with Duchamp’s kinetic works and ready-mades.

In Schwarz´ index pp. 619-630, 1970 you find following entries referring to the Swedish art context: Ilmar Laaban, Ingemar Gustafson (Leckius) and Erik Lindgren p. 592, see Salamander below, Pontus Hultén has three, pp. 482, 496, 600. Moderna Museet, (Stockholm) have sixteen entries but they all refer to the replicas of Duchamp’s ready-mades made by Linde and Hultén 1960-1963. Though, Ulf Linde has as many as twenty-six entries there are no remarks how important his engagement must have been for Duchamp and his ready-mades.

Hultén’s three entries in the Schwarz´ index 1970 are replica of Rotary Glass Plates (Precision Optics) 1920, S 379 a, replica of Door: 11, rue Larrey 1927, S 426 a, both made 1961. The last entry refers to "On the "Bicycle Wheel". Of Ulf Linde’s twenty-six entries, ten refer to Linde’s participation in Schwarz´ book "Marcel Duchamp Ready-Mades etc.". 1964. (3) Twelve entries refer to Linde’s readymade replicas and one to Linde’s Swedish translation of The Green Box in Konstrevy 1961-1963, see below, one to his book "Marcel Duchamp", 1963, and three to his interviews.

The three Swedish poets Ilmar Laaban, Erik Lindegren, and Ingemar Gustafson (Leckius) are in the index for their Swedish translation of SUR cen SUR and Breton’s "Lighthouse of the Bride" in Salamander no. 1 1955, see below.

Under section XX "Bibliography of works quoted" 1970, only Ulf Linde’s "MARiée CELibataire" is noted from Schwarz´ "Marcel Duchamp: Ready-mades, Etc." 1964.

In the 1997 edition you do not find Pontus Hultén in index at all, that is strange. But his name appears in section XXII no. 165, page 910 [On the "Bicycle Wheel"] for the catalogue "Bewogen Beweging" (Art in Motion) 1961 in Amsterdam, which is the same note appearing as no. 144 page 600 in the 1970 edition. (4)

3. Walter Hopps, Ulf Linde, Arturo Schwarz, Marcel Duchamp, Ready-Mades, etc. (1913-1964), 1964. 4. K. G. Hultén (Pontus Hultén ed.), Rörelse i konsten, Bewogen Beweging,1961.

Yet, these entries are incorrect. What Schwarz refers to might be K. G.(Pontus) Hultén’s text "A Short survey about the history of kinetic art during 20th Century" published in the catalogue of Art in Motion. Schwarz also forget to mention that this exhibition was produced for Moderna Museet in Stockholm and that Hultén together with Carlo Derkert and Daniel Spoerri was the working committee.
Hultén was also the editor of the catalogue, which it says in the catalogue.

It is clear that Hultén was the one who initiated Art in Motion. See my quote from Linde’s book 1986 above. Schwarz also mentions only Amsterdam. Why Schwarz has omitted this crucial information I do not know at least concerning Hultén’s engagement in Duchamp´s work. Linde has only seven entries in the 1997 edition. These are no. 169, no. 175, no. 195, which are his interviews with Duchamp. The other four refers to Linde’s translation of the Green Box and his participation in Schwarz´ book "Marcel Duchamp: Ready-mades, Etc. (1913-1964)", Milan 1964.

Under Schwarz´ "Bibliography of works quoted" XXIII, 1997 you find Hultén, Karl Gunnar Pontus "The Machine" 1968 and "Marcel Duchamp, Work and Life" 1993. Only Ulf Linde’s books "Marcel Duchamp" 1963 and his contribution "MARiée CELibataire" in Schwarz´ "Marcel Duchamp: Ready-mades, Etc." 1964 are mentioned here.

In Schwarz´ 1997 edition, Section XXIV, Timothy Shipe´s Bibliography 1969-95" acts as a supplement to the descriptive bibliography for the 1969 and 1970 editions. Here, Linde’s two books 1963 and 1986 are mentioned. Additionallyhe has three entries under Section 4, within the bibliography, "Secondary Literature: Articles and Essays". Two of them appear in the catalogue that was published for Duchamp’s retrospective exhibition at Centre Georges Pompidou 1977. Under section 5 of Shipe´s bibliography, "Exhibition Catalogues" Linde appears again, now as the editor for the catalogue published by the Moderna Museet 1986-1987, or the exhibition "Marcel Duchamp". Pontus Hultén is now mentioned as the editor of the catalogue published by Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 1993.

Section XXV, "Exhibition history", of the 1997 edition, is organised in two parts. The first part documents solo exhibitions from 1937. The second part records groupshows in which Duchamp participated during his lifetime. This last section is highly selective according to Timothy Shipe. The following solo exhibitions in Sweden are recorded: "Marcel Duchamp" Bokkonsum 1960, "Marcel Duchamp" Galerie Burén Eva af 1963, "Marcel Duchamp" Moderna Museet 1986-1987. The group exhibitions are "Art in motion" 1961" and "Dada" Moderna Museet (Stockholm) 1966. These are all listed, but Pontus Hulten´s exhibitions "Art in motion" and "Bewogen Beweging" are the only major references. The fact this was ignored remains somewhat perplexing.

Though Schwarz has mentioned those who were interested in Duchamp’s works in Sweden, he has excluded essential information and conclusions concerning Duchamp’s early appearance in the Swedish art. Thus ignoring its effect on his career since the mid-fifties in regard to his kinetic works and ready-mades.

Comments on Lebel’s index

Robert Lebel’s first monograph 1959 (5) in collaboration with Duchamp was published five years after the exhibition at Samlaren, in collaboration with Duchamp. Curiously enough, that show and magazine, KASARK (no. 1) are not listed. In Lebel’s bibliography, under "General References", no. 98 is Hultén (K) & Vasarely (V) catalogue "Le Mouvement" Galerie Denis René, Paris 1955. Under "Special Studies and documents" no. 68 is Bo Lindwall’s article "Saboteur et anti-artiste", Konstrevy 1955 (see entry).

In Lebel’s revised edition of 1967, (6) Ulf Linde´s book "Marcel Duchamp", 1963, appears under the "Bibliography: Addenda, Pat 3" no. 93. In part 5 of yhe "Addenda", under no.103 is "Bokkonsum, Invitation Card", with foreword by K. G. Hultén, Stockholm 1960. No.108 "Art in motion", Amsterdam, Stockholm, Copenhagen.

Lebel writes in "Catalogue Raisonné: Addenda Part 2", 1967:
"Until 1960 Duchamp had usually made or chosen himself the replicas and editions of his own works. In 1960, a group of his Scandinavian admirers, including K. G. Hultén, Director of the Stockholm Moderna Museet, Ulf Linde, P. O. Ultvedt and Magnus Wibom, started working together on replicas which were later approved and signed by Duchamp". Though, Lebel’s comments are correct, he, like Schwarz, does not see the crucial importance of Duchamp’s early appearance in Sweden in regard to his kinetic works and ready-mades.

5. Robert Lebel, Marcel Duchamp, 1959. 6. Robert Lebel, Marcel Duchamp, 1967.

The Swedish Art World and Marcel Duchamp

The following compilation delineates how and when Marcel Duchamp was introduced within the context of Swedish art. It was quite early, beginning in 1933. At this point, most of the early articles discuss Duchamp within the realms of Cubism, Futurism, Dadaism, and Surrealism.

Pontus Hultén was the first to acknowlkedge Duchamp’s crucial works of kinetic art and ready-mades. The first time he did so was in the inaugural issue of KASARK, 1954 (Published by Galerie Samlaren, Stockholm) (7), and he continued to do so in the following three issues, These articles became a platform for Hultén´s concepts and extensive knowledge of Duchamp´s kinetic art and ready-mades.
KASARK is one of the rarest art magazines published in Sweden (see following entry), and can be compared with "The Blind Man". (The name KASARK originates from Mark Twain´s short story "The Ascension of Captain Stormfield. It is defined as a unit of weight. One kasark equals the weight of a quantity of one million of earths.)

7. KASARK no. 1, 1954, Galerie Samlaren.

Ready-mades at Galerie Eva af Burén, Stockholm 1963

The exhibition including Linde’s replicas of Duchamp’s ready-mades at Galerie Eva af Burén, Stockholm 1963, was the first show to ever concentrate on his ready-mades. Duchamp was quite enthusiastic about the proposal. He wrote back: "For the show at Mrs Buren’s I agree thoroughly with your idea to have every Readymade shown in exact replicas, Marcel" and thought that Schwarz should use Linde’s replicas as models for the 1964 editions of ready-mades. (Ulf Linde "Marcel Duchamp", 1986 page 52 and 57. Concerning the release of the replicas 1964 in Milan, Schwarz borrowed Linde’s copies for the show. It was there that Duchamp signed Linde’s versions, which are now at Moderna Museet in Stockholm.

Crucial exhibitions in Sweden

My study attempts to show how important the Swedish art world must have been to the overall appreciation of Duchamp’s kinetic works and ready-mades. When looking at the record of exhibitions related to Marcel Duchamp since the 1950’s one consistently finds the involvment of Pontus Hultén. It began in 1954 with exhibition "Objects or Artefacts Reality Fulfilled" at Agnes Widlund’s Galerie Samlaren Feb - Mars, Stockholm 1954, and continued with "Le Mouvement", Galerie Denise René, Paris 1955, (8) "Marcel Duchamp", Bokkonsum, Stockholm 1960, (9) "Art in Motion", Amsterdam, Stockholm, Luisiana, Denmark,1961, and "The Machine", the Museum of Modern Art, MoMA, New York 1968-1969. (10) Some of these exhibitions are listed in Lebel and Schwarz´s texts, but both failed to achnowledge their impotance.

8. Le Mouvemenet, Galerie Denise René, Paris, 1955. 9. Bokkonsum, announcement card, 1960.

In 1960 Linde published "Spejare" (11), that had an enormous impact on the Swedich art world, primarly due to his presentation of Marcel Duchamp´s works. Yet even Linde forgot to mention Galerie Samlaren and KASARK in his text and made a significant mistake about the Bottlerack by saying: "1914 he took a bottlerack from a cafe and exhibited it at a salon as a sculpture" page 43. This, as I explain later, is an incorrect statement (see entry).

10. The Machine, Museum of Modern Art
11. Ulf Linde, Spejare, 1960.

Duchamp’s intriguing titles

It is well known that Duchamp was very specific about his titles.
Therefore, I have chosen to quote them from Schwarz latest catalogue raisonné for tree reasons. First, it is the most complete list of Duchamp’s works. Like Köchel’s register of Mozart’s works. Secondly, it is based on Schwarz direct collaboration with Duchamp, as was the previous catalogue raisonné of 1969, revised and updated in 1970 and 1997. Thirdly Schwarz has a cross-reference to Robert Lebel’s catalogue raisonné; the first Duchamp monographs published in 1959 and later revised in 1967.

Duchamp’s titles have probably been altered or misunderstood through the years. I have therefore quoted the titles as they stand of the Swedish material, and place parenthesis around the titles as the appear in Schwarz´ latest catalogue raisonné.

Common errors about Duchamp’s ready-mades

In my study, I examine some of the misunderstandings of Duchamp’s works that are commonly made by art critics and the readers. For example, it is often said that his ready-mades have been exhibited in their original versions. This is untrue, as they have obviously been copies or replicas. He Specifically confirmed new replicas of lost ready-mades made by Ulf Linde, Richard Hamilton and others.

Additionally, there are the Schwarz editions from 1964 that celebrate the 50th. Anniversary of the ready-mades´introduction in the art world. I do not think Duchamp had any objections about that, because it concides with his attitudes towards art and the art world. His opinion about art and artists can be exaplified in his response to the question "Who is a famous artist?" to which he answered: "He’s a lucky guy." (Interview with Linde, Stockholm, 1961.)

(For a closer look at Duchamp’s ready-mades I refer to Hector Obalk’s essay "The Unfindable Ready-mades" in Tout-Fait Journal Vol. 1. Issue 2. 1999 [see links].)

Due to all the errors concerning the provenance of Duchamp’s works, particularly his ready-mades, I have listed them in an appendix.
If a work exists, it is listed along with its current location. The appendix also includes Schwarz´s inclusive categories of each item.

In the appendix, I have also listed my primary sources chronologically and indicated further readings regarding people of interest.

Marcel Duchamp in Sweden 1933-1970

All illustrations, for this critical review, are taken by Leif Eriksson and
selected from The Swedish Archive of Artists´Books, Malmö Sweden,
when not otherwise stated.

MARCEL DUCHAMP IN SWEDEN 1933-1970 [note: 600Kb]