An Artistic Obsession

Richard Hamilton and Marcel Duchamp

Richard Hamilton was an admirer and friend of Marcel Duchamp and he meticulously studied the older artist’s works. In the 1960s, Hamilton was invited by the Tate Gallery to organize a major retrospective of Marcel Duchamp’s work to open in 1966. For the occasion, Hamilton recreated Duchamp’s The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even (aka The Large Glass), a work that had originally been destroyed in 1926.

Hamilton decided to recreate the work using Duchamp’s original notes and drawings instead of photographs. In preparation he created perspective drawings, tracing and glass studies. Duchamp had made two studies on glass and these were reproduced for the project while Hamilton produced two new studies in glass, Sieves and The Oculist Witnesses, our present lot. At the suggestion of Marcel Duchamp, these two works were each published in an edition of 50 by Petersburg Press and signed by both Duchamp and Hamilton.

In total, it took Hamilton a year to recreate Duchamp’s The Large Glass. When Marcel Duchamp attended the Tate's retrospective exhibition in 1966, he signed the work. 

What was marvellous about Duchamp I found, and what I admired him almost most for, was his detachment. It was as though he’s looking at the thing from quite a distance and I was quite happy to adopt that as one of the useful things that he could teach me; stand back a bit.

Richard Hamilton