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Marcel Duchamp Fresh Widow Essay

Decent Essays
Marcel Duchamp’s Fresh Widow was created in 1920, and is on display at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Fresh Widow is a bluish green miniature French window, which he constructed with wood and leather. The Fresh Widow is considered to be a part of the Dadaist period and retains qualities of dadaism in that it is a stand alone object, that has been completely stripped of its utility and function. In addition, across the window sill, Duchamp wrote “COPYRIGHT” in capitalized black letters referring to the classic dadaist rejection of the commodification or reproduction of art. Duchamp created the Fresh Widow two years after the end of World War I. World War I was traumatizing and horrific for most of Europe, with millions of men being killed. The timing of Duchamp’s Fresh Widow, the title, as well as the form of his piece all work together to represent the losses felt by wives in France during the war. The use of a French window that has been blacked out by black leather, as well as the bluish-green color of the wood is a reference to the macabre realities of war and the…show more content…
Following World War I, widows were abundant. Duchamp’s piece illustrates the grief stricken emotional and deadened vision widows had after the war when their wounds were ripe and unable to be restrained. The widow is much like Duchamp’s window- impenetrable and unreadable. The viewer cannot see the vision of the widow because the widow herself cannot she her own vision. Much like the inability of the viewer to look through the glass, the widow cannot look to somewhere else, to a different place. The viewer is left with an intimate bond with the widow, experiencing her inability to create a vision but is also left at a distance from the widow because of the viewer's inability to read her emotions and thought processes. The widow is draped in a veil of mourning and sadness much like the window is covered by black
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