We're pleased to announce Toutfait.com has published our most recent submission by Francis M. Naumann. Click here for article. This text was first published as the entry for Duchamp's "Belle Haleine: Eau de violette" in the sales catalog for the Christie's auction of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge's Collection in Paris, February 23, 2009. This essay not only itemizes and details the work's history but deeply explores the psyche of Duchamp's alter ego Rrose Selavy and his/her motivations for the work.
For those unfamiliar, Duchamp created work under the guise of Rrose Selavy, as Naumann so eloquently phrases, "an alternative persona through which he could hide his true identity while continuing to function as an artist." While Duchamp had been creating works under this name for a while, it wasn't until 1921 that he physically manifested his feminine alter ego, enlisting his friend Man Ray to help take photographs of himself in drag. These unforgettable and iconic images, were used throughout his work, and particularly in the artwork, Belle:Haleine: Eau de violette, in which a photograph of Rrose is precisely cut to fit the decorative form of a Rigaud perfume bottle, and inscribed to create what is called one of Duchamp's first "assisted readymades."