Tire a quatre epingles
Original Etching, 1964, on Magnani-wove paperpaper, signed by the artist in pencil, lower right, and numbered lower left
Etched lower right (Inscribed) “Marcel/Duchamp/ 1915-64”
Etched top century, in English: PULLED AT FOUR PINS
Etehced lower centre in French: “TIRE A QUATRE EPINGLES”
Etxched centre: “Cette partie tourne (This part turns); bottom “Cette partie est fixe/axe (This part remains fixed /axle)
Size: 31.7 x 22.5 cm (plate); 64.5 x 46.5 cm (sheet)
Published by: Edizioni Galleria Schwarz, Milan, 1964
Provenance: Private collection, Lecco, Italy
References: Arturo Schwartz “The Complete works of Marcel Duchamp": Number 609
Note: Marcel Duchamp is arguably one of the most important artists of the 20th century. The readymades of Marcel Duchamp are ordinary manufactured objects that the artist selected and modified, as an antidote to what he called "retinal art”. Individual pieces were described as "an ordinary object elevated to the dignity of a work of art by the mere choice of an artist. By simply choosing the object (or objects) and repositioning or joining, tilting and signing it, the object became art. “ As the process involved the least amount of interaction between artist and art, it represented the most extreme form of minimalism up to that time.
The prototype of our work was made in 1915 where it was described at a round revolving “ventillator”. Schwarz points out that this piece was mistaken for a weathervane. The object is, in fact , a chimney ventilator, readily available in hardware stores during the first decades of the 20th century. The literal English translation of the French phrase "tire a quatre epingles," which means "Dressed to the Nines" in French, this phrase has autobiographical overtones. Duchamp was known to be a sharp dresser, always looking his Sunday best whatever the occasion or day of the week.Other possible meanings of this title prove more complex. First of all, in English, the phrase "Pulled at Four Pins" means nothing at all; and this may be exactly what Duchamp intended. It may not be meant to make sense, just like the jumbled word phrases and complex puns used in other readymade multiples.
Evidently the copper plate which made this item was stolen in 1981 and has never been recovered.