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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Discs Bearing Spirals

Photo: Paul Macapia

Discs Bearing Spirals


Marcel Duchamp

French, (active in the United States), 1887 - 1968

Although Duchamp was famous for promoting "non-retinal" art-art which is more concerned with ideas than images-this work is a direct contradiction of that concept. Each spiral design is a study for a different "optical disc" that creates hypnotic patterns of space and depth when rotated.

Ink and pencil on paper
46 5/8 x 46 5/8 in.
Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection
Provenance: Collection Francis Picabia, Paris, until 1953 Zoe Dusanne Gallery, Seattle Dr. Richard Fuller, Seattle, acquired in 1959 Donated to Seattle Art Museum in 1963
Photo: Paul Macapia
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "Contemporary Trends in International Art," April 7 - May 1, 1955

Santa Barbara, CA, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, "Harbingers of Surrealism," 1966.

Washington D.C., The Washington Gallery of Modern Art, "20th Century Paintings from Washington State Collection," 1966.

Philadelphia, PA & New York City, New York, Chicago, IL, Philadelphia Museum of Art & circuit to Museum of Modern Art & The Art Institute of Chicago, "Marcel Duchamp Retrospective," 1973-1974.

New York City, NY, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, "20th Century America: Works of Paper," January 23- March 21 1976.

Ludwigshafen, Germany, Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, "The New Realty: Abstraction as a Blueprint for the World," October 9, 1994 - January 29, 1995.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "Five Installations on the Fourth Floor: Varieties of Sculpture," June 26, 1997.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "Anne Gerber Biennial: 2000 1/2: Going Forward Looking Back," May 8, 2000 - August 4, 2000.

Basel, Switzerland, Museum Jean Tinguely Basel, "Marcel Duchamp," March 20, 2002 - June 30, 2002.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "International Abstraction: Making Painting Real," May 2, 2003 - February 29, 2004

Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, "Dada," February 19 - May 14, 2006.

Frankfurt, Germany, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Marcel Duchamp: A Revision of the Object, Feb. 18 – Sep. 18, 2022

Published ReferencesCallahan, Kenneth. "New Shows Are Diversified." The Seattle Times, Sunday, April 3, 1955, illus.

Schwarz, Arturo, "The Complete Works of Marcel Duchamp," New York: Harry N. Abrams, second revised edition 1970, cat. no. 286, p. 494, illus (b&w)

Museum Jean Tinguely Basel, ed., "Marcel Duchamp," Basel, Switzerland: Museum Jean Tinguely and Ostfildern-Ruit, Germany: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2003, cat. no. 68, p. 212, illus. (b&w)

Houston, Joe, "Optic Nerve Perceptual Art of the 1960's", Columbus Museum of Art, Merrell publishers, 2007, p. 149

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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