Dalí /Duchamp: First Exhibition to Throw Light on Surprising Friendship of Two Artistic Giants

The Royal Academy of Arts presents an exhibition titled “Dalí /Duchamp”, bringing together around 80 works, including some of Dalí (1904-1989)’s most inspired and technically accomplished paintings and sculptures, and Duchamp (1887-1968)’s groundbreaking assemblages and readymades.  

The exhibition offers another look at two artistic giants: father of conceptual art Marcel Duchamp, and larger-than-life Surrealist Salvador Dalí. These two great artists could hardly be more dissimilar but they maintained a lasting bond of friendship throughout their careers.

This 1964 edition of Fountain is a replica of its original in 1917.

The most widely-known work in this exhibition is definitely Duchamp’s iconic ready-made work Fountain. Readymades refer to ordinary manufactured objects that the artist selected and modified, as an antidote to what he called "retinal art". Fountain was a work submitted by Duchamp for the exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists in 1917. The piece was a porcelain urinal, which was signed "R.Mutt" and titled Fountain.

The original Fountain has been lost

Fountain was rejected by the committee but it stirred controversy about what should be considered as art. In 2004, Duchamp's Fountain was voted the most influential artwork of the 20th century by 500 selected British art world professionals. The original Fountain has been lost. The seventeen Fountain that exist now are replicas commissioned by Duchamp in the 1960s.

Another highlight of the exhibition is another readymade created by Marcel Duchamp, titled L.H.O.O.Q. It is a cheap postcard reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa onto which Duchamp drew a moustache and beard in pencil and appended the title. The name of the piece, L.H.O.O.Q., is a pun; the letters pronounced in French sound like "Elle a chaud au cul", which means "She is hot in the arse".

Salvador Dalí created his “Self Portrait as Mona Lisa” in 1954, referencing "L.H.O.O.Q." in collaboration with Philippe Halsman, incorporating his photographs of a wild-eyed Dalí showing his handlebar moustache and a handful of coins.


Other highlights

Salvador Dalí, Les premiers jours du printemps (The First Days of Spring), 1929.

Salvador Dalí,Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach, 1938.

Marcel Duchamp,The King and Queen Surrounded by Swift Nudes,1912.

Marcel Duchamp (reconstruction by Richard Hamilton), The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (La mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires, même), known as The Large Glass, 1915 (reconstructed in 1965–66 and 1985).


Dali / Duchamp

Period: 2017/10/7 - 2018/1/3
Opening hours:
Saturday - Thursday|10am - 6pm
Friday|10am - 10pm
Adults|£15 ( under 16s when with a fee-paying adult, go free)
Venue: Weston Galleries, Burlington House, Royal Academy of Arts, London

Royal Academy of Arts, London

Closed: 24-26 December
Address: Burlington House, Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 0BD, UK
Enquiries: +44 20 7300 8090