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Marcel Duchamp Vintage French Architectural Mannequin on Staircase Model circa 1940

This vintage French hand made architectural model with a separate artist's mannequin circa 1940 is a rare sculpture that evokes Marcel Duchamp's modern painting "Nude Descending a Staircase". The precise fabrication of the spiral staircase enclosed by half height walls shows the skill of the cabinetmaker. The addition of a true vintage artist's mannequin (circa 1900) exposes the knowlwdge of contemporary art. The vintage mannequin has fully movable joints into multiple positions and is a collectible in its own right. The two together? Priceless as MasterCard says in its famous advertisements. Please enlarge the photographs to see all the details in closeup. 

Essentially these three-dimensional models mannequins act as an artist’s aide-mémoire for two-dimensional work. They are found in all sizes from a few inches high up to life size. Representing the ideal proportions of the human body the majority are carved from pine (pictured mannequin fashioned from oak), and from the 17th century are made with pivoted ball joints allowing for a natural bending and turning. The faces are always expressionless and the androgynous features of the head enable it to be dressed convincingly as either man or woman.

Lay figures have been used by artists for centuries and most probably originated in ancient Greece where they assisted sculptors in the posing of bare limbs. However, Vasari maintains the Italian Renaissance artist Fra Bartolommeo (1472 – 1517) was the first person to devise a wooden life size, fully articulated lay figure. (cited Wikipedia)

# 66GSA8


19.50" w x 18.50" d x 22.50" h

49.53cm w x 46.99cm d x 57.15cm h