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Rayures dans la mer, tâches dans la savane : atelier créatif de Laura Mertz
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Quentin Garel

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Estelle d’Almeida, chef de pr...

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antoine poupel
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vladimir skoda
GROUP SHOW : L’œil et la nuit

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SOLO SHOW : Horizons


The Large Glass and the Grand Pier Pavilion.
Centenary from Marcel Duchamp’s visit at Herne Bay in 1913.

By Megakles Rogakos
Art Historian & Exhibition Curator
Athens, 25 May 2013

It is worth picturing Duchamp’s state of mind prior to his advent in Herne Bay in the summer of 1913. On 18 March 1912 Duchamp was certainly shocked to hear from his own brothers, Jacques Villon and Raymond Duchamp-Villon, that the hanging committee of the Salon des Indépendants exhibition in Paris, which included themselves, requested of him to paint over the title of his recent painting “Nude Descending a Staircase No.2” as a prerequisite in order to have it exhibited there. Duchamp’s response was to withdraw it in protest. His rejection by the Cubists confirmed to Duchamp that he was through with painting, and also led to his resolve to avoid groups and continue on his own. Though later he was momentarily satisfied to sell the “Nude,” that he displayed at the famous 1st Armory Show in New York in spring 1913, Duchamp still felt hurt. On 2 July 1913, a month before arriving in the Kentish seaside, Duchamp wrote from Neuilly-sur-Seine to his American painter patron, Walter Pach, saying, “I am very down at the moment and doing absolutely nothing. It’s very irritating when it’s like this. I am going away in August to spend some time in England.” [Naumann 2000, p.28]. As Jason Hollingsworth and Sue Austen, founders of Bayguide, claim, “This is the young man who came to Herne Bay, with the feeling of being ‘liberated from the past’.” His mind that summer was consumed with what was to become his major work, the “Glass.”

Indeed, on bank holiday, Monday, 4 August 1913, Duchamp and his sister Yvonne, arrived in Herne Bay, probably directly from their family home in Rouen via either Dunkirk or Boulogne. He had celebrated his 26th birthday a week earlier, on 28 July. Yvonne was 17, and needed to be chaperoned during her stay there, where she was enrolled in a summer school to learn English at Lynton College, 16 Downs Park, registered as a “school for young ladies.” On 5 August, Duchamp wrote on a postcard from the town, featuring an aspect of Central Parade, to his painter friend in Munich, Max Bergman: “Dear Friend, I am not dead : I am staying for a month in Herne Bay, England with my sister. Very pleasant weather and nice countryside. I am going to Paris on 15 September. Write to me here until the end of the month.” Glenn Harvey mentions the fact that Kent is known in the tourist literature as ‘The Garden of England’ and indeed, in his correspondence at the time, Duchamp remarks, uncommonly, on the beauty of the countryside. On 8 August he wrote to his fellow from Lycée Corneille, Raymond Dumouchel, “The traveller is enchanted. Superb weather. As much tennis as possible. A few Frenchmen for me to avoid learning English, a sister who is enjoying herself a lot.” [Tomkins 1996, p.129]. During the month spent in Herne Bay, while Yvonne attended classes, Duchamp played tennis, walked along the coast and explored the area. In the evenings they probably strolled along the promenade or attended concerts at the recently opened Kings Hall on the Downs. Duchamp was already making sketches and notes towards the “Glass,” and at least two of these—“La Guêpe ou le Cylindre sexe” (Wasp, or Sex Cylinder) [Duchamp 1973, p.46] and “Le Pendu femelle” (The Female Hanged Man) [Ibid., p.47]—are attributed to the time of his stay in Herne Bay, and were included in “The Green Box” of 1934.

Duchamp’s postcard to Dumouchel features the Herne Bay Pier along with the recently constructed Grand Pavilion, a building that left a lasting impression upon him. The pier itself was an imposing structure, essentially a third replacement of earlier structures, which stretched out from the coast seawards for a notable distance of 1,154 meters. Its length made it the second longest pier in England after the one at Southend, its northerly cousin that survives to this day on the north side of the Thames Estuary. The Grand Pier Pavilion, which so impressed Duchamp, housed a roller-skating, dancing and concert hall. It was designed by a Percy J. Waldram and Messrs Moscrop-Young and Glanfield of London, and was erected on the pier in the summer of 1910. It was opened with much civic pomp and ceremony by the then Lord Mayor of London, Sir John Knill, accompanied, no less, by the mayors of Lambeth, Woolwich, Chatham and Margate. The importance of this Pavilion for the town can be discerned from the fact that its basic design drawings were reproduced on the front page of the local newspaper, the Herne Bay Press.

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Christophe Cartier au Musée Paul Delouvrier
du 6 au 28 Octobre 2012
Peintures 2007 - 2012
Auteurs: Estelle Pagès et Jean-Luc Chalumeau

Christophe Cartier / Gisèle Didi
D'une main peindre...
Préface de Jean-Pierre Maurel

Christophe Cartier

"Rêves, ou c'est la mort qui vient"
édité aux éditions du manuscrit.com