A rare print of Marcel Duchamp’s L.H.O.O.Q, his scandalous take on the Mona Lisa, is set to cross the block at Sotheby’s Paris on October 21 in the sale of the Arthur Brandt collection.
Dadaist Duchamp originally produced the work, which adds a goatee to the famous portrait, in 1919.
This is a 1964 reprint of Duchamp's 1919 original
The title “L.H.O.O.Q”, when read phonetically spells out “Elle a chaud au cul" - which roughly translates to “She has a hot ass”.
It’s a classic example of Duchamp’s playful and iconoclastic approach to art, made soon after psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud published his Un souvenir d'enfance de Leonard de Vinci - which insinuated the old master may have been gay (a suggestion Duchamp gleefully latches on to).
The lot is one of 38 editions of the work Duchamp had printed in 1964 for his friend Pierre de Massot’s book Propos et souvenirs.
Sotheby’s explains: “The choice of the Mona Lisa is far from banal.
“The fact that this mythical painting by Leonard da Vinci had become the ultimate symbol of sanctified, museum art did of course serve Marcel Duchamp's cause, and this all the more so because 1919 was the year of the 400th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci's death.
“By choosing the most famous artwork in the world, a national icon in France, Duchamp aimed to desacralize the work of art.”
The work is valued at up to $714,234.
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