"Marcel Duchamp 12 (Tonsure)" Painting by Davis Lisboa

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Davis Lisboa, "Marcel Duchamp 12 (Tonsure)", 2018, oil on canvas, 19,68 x 19,68 x 1,57 in (50 x 50 x 3,5 cm).
Davis Lisboa, "Marcel Duchamp 12 (Tonsure)", 2018, oil on canvas, 19,68 x 19,68 x 1,57 in (50 x 50 x 3,5 cm).
Davis Lisboa, "Marcel Duchamp 12 (Tonsure)", 2018, oil on canvas, 19,68 x 19,68 x 1,57 in (50 x 50 x 3,5 cm).
Davis Lisboa, "Marcel Duchamp 12 (Tonsure)", 2018, oil on canvas, 19,68 x 19,68 x 1,57 in (50 x 50 x 3,5 cm).

Art Description

Painting: Oil on Canvas.


The Davis Lisboa Mini-Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona

Davis Lisboa, "Marcel Duchamp 12 (Tonsure)", 2018, oil on canvas, 19,68 x 19,68 x 1.57 in (50 x 50 x 3.5 cm)

What inspired the work?

Conceptually, I have been inspired by "Tonsure, Marcel Duchamp" (1921), a portrait of Duchamp, probably taken by the artist’s friend Man Ray, (Emmanuel Radnitzky, dit) born on August 27, 1890 in Philadelphia (United States), who died on November 18, 1976 in Paris (France). This negative gelatin silver bromide on glass, 12 x 9 cm, shows the back of Duchamp’s head with his star/comet tonsure haircut. The motivations for and circumstances surrounding the haircut remain unclear, but the tonsure and star/comet imagery have multiple meanings. The tonsure historically served as a symbol of the “célibat” (celibate), or one who withdraws from society. By 1921 Duchamp had repeatedly withdrawn from artistic, social, familial, and romantic engagements.

It is possible that the tonsure haircut also refers to Rrose Sélavy, Duchamp’s female alter ego, who first emerged in 1920. The five-pointed star, which from Roman times has been called the “Rose of Venus,” is associated with the goddess of love and functions as symbol of the feminine. In this way, the tonsure can be considered an outward sign of Duchamp’s multiple and shifting identities.

Formally, I was inspired by the German painter Gerhard Richter, who began in 1960's to create his iconic photographic paintings. From a collection of photographs that he added throughout his life - from press clippings to family photos - Richter projected and drew the images on a canvas. In the process of recreating the photos, he erased the images, leaving the subjects unidentifiable.

What do you hope its viewers will think?

I hope that viewers understand that there is a narrative within the history of art that deals with the artists who created their own museums. This narrative is constructed through Marcel Duchamp (Boîte-en-valise, 1936-1941), Robert Filliou (La galerie légitime, 1962-1963) and Marcel Broodthaers (Musée d'Art Moderne, Département des Aigles, 1968-1972). Following this narrative, I decided to create the Davis Museum | The Davis Lisboa Mini-Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona (2009-ongoing), which is, simultaneously, a readymade sculpture, a non-profit collective art project, and at the same time, a cultural entity recognized by the Generalitat de Catalunya (an Autonomous Community in Spain).

Created symbolically in an electoral ballot box and disseminated mainly through Facebook, the Davis Museum is also the smallest contemporary art museum in the world.

This cultural entity has several sections and one of them is "The Paintings Section From Davis Museum". It is divided into portraits and still lifes. The portraits represent Marcel Duchamp, Robert Filliou and Marcel Broodthaers; while still lifes represent the "Boîte-en-valise" (Box in a suitcase), the "Galerie légitime" (Legitimate gallery) and the "Musée d'Art Moderne, Département des Aigles" (Museum of Modern Art, Department of Eagles).

Why did you choose the medium, the frame format and the color?

I chose oil on canvas because I am interested in painting not only because of its versatility as a medium but also because of its rich historical repository of images and ideas.

Only the best materials have been used for this work: linen canvas, oil paintings by Old Holland and medium by Blockx. As the Davis Museum is a cube, I chose the frame of the paintings to be square. And since the Davis Museum's brand color is blue, I chose the same color for all the paintings.

“The Paintings Section” is the only section of the Davis Museum where works of art are on sale. Support The Davis Museum art project by buying now this painting on Saatchi Art.


The Alejandro Vásquez Herrero Collection, Viladecans, Spain.
The Daniel Marcoux Collection, Montreal, Canada.
The Francesc Torres Collection, Barcelona, Spain.
The Geert De Kegel Collection, Zele, Belgium.
The Soteris Argyrou Collection, Nicosia, Cyprus.
The Yellowstone Club Collection, Big Sky, Montana, USA.




"Marcel Duchamp 12 (Tonsure)"

Davis Lisboa



Size: 19.7 W x 19.7 H x 1.6 in

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