DescriptionMARCEL DUCHAMP (French, 1887-1968)
Rotoreliefs (6 double-sided works), 1935 (printed 1953)
Offset lithographs in color printed on both sides of six cardboard discs; black circular disk holder; letter; envelope
Each disk diameter 7-7/8 inches (20.0 cm)
From the edition of 1,000 sets (ca. 600 sets accidentally destroyed and part of this edition used in later editions)
One lithograph dedicated and signed: pour Denise et Edmond affectueusement Marcel
Prof. Hans Wallach (gift from the artist)
Prof. Carl Zuckerman (gift from the above)
A. Schwarz, The Complete Works of Marcel Duchamp, 1997, nr. 441.a., p. 729
While the numerical sequence of the Rotorelief and other information is printed on the disks of the French (1935) edition, only the titles of the disks in this edition are printed, in letterpress along their circumferences: Corolles/Lampe; Oeuf a la coque/ Lanterne chinoise; Poisson japonais/ Escargot; Verre Boheme / Cerceaux; Montgolfiere / Cage; Eclipse totale/ Spirale blanche. Each set supplied with collapsible cardboard stand 4 ½ x 9 ¾ flattened.
The cardboard stand for this edition has a double function: when the disks are in motion, it serves as a support; when being prepared for storage, the circular holder is inserted into the flattened stand, to prevent the disks from falling out.
Handwritten Letter by Marcel Duchamp to Mr. Wallach:
"250 West 14th Street, New York, Aug. 18th, 1954
Dear Mr. Wallach
I made my first (black and white) film with spirals (made of eccentric circles) around 1925. The film is called "Anemic Cinema" and you can eventually see it at the Museum of Modern Art, N.Y.
In 1935 I developed the same idea in color and made the enclosed set of 6 discs (for a long playing record machine 33 r.p.m. - if you place the disc on an open book covering the long pin).
From these discs, in 1948, Hans Richter made a sequence in his film 'Dreams that Money can Buy' you may have seen.
But what interests me most is the basic principle:
1. When 2 circumferences placed at random on top of one another turn on a third center, anywhere between their 2 respective centers, one circumference will come on top of the other and not necessary the same one for different eyes -
2. The optical illusion is more effective on one eye than on two - (the 3-dimensional effect not the result of an 'accommodation' -
Thanks again for your letter.
Dr. Hans Wallach (1904 - 1998) was an experimental psychologist at Swarthmore College who helped explain hum vision and hearing. His studies explained fundamental areas like the perception of form through motion and the organization of movement. A gestalt psychologist, he headed the psychology department at Swarthmore from 1957 to 1966, became the Centennial Professor of Psychology in 1971. He was elected to the National Academy of Science in 1986 (this lot includes the original envelope from Duchamp to Hans Wallach).
Colors are bright. Minor abrasions and light surface dirt around the extreme edges of the Rotoreliefs. Four of the six have a few light pin point accretions on the image. Montfolfiere has a light scratch on the left edge. Light rubbing on the black disk holder. In good condition overall. Please not that the stand is not included with this lot.
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