Rigaud: a Scent in Need of an Author
By Maria Goldverg
posted: 03-29-11
Belle Haleine: Eau de Voilette (Beautiful Breath: Veil Water)
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For those that have been following the attention 'scents' have been receiving in the art world, as we have, Christie's auctioned out the most expensive bottle of perfume ever sold, and it never even held perfume. This is is not surprising, for it was designed by Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray in 1921.

Many designers of perfumery cite "self-expression," the olfactory trace of a scent left behind, as a primary interest and stake. A trace is not unlike a signature, it identifies an owner or author. Duchamp's ready-mades scandalized the art world for being the first to make a point of questioning authorship in the fetish art object, even the signature of fetishized scent. Duchamp's record-breaking perfume bottle, called Belle Haleine: Eau de Voilette (Beautiful Breath: Veil Water), initially housed the much loved fragrance Rigaud. It was first displayed in its altered form, as an "assisted ready-made.", at the Cordier & Ekstrom Gallery in 1965.

Beautiful Breath features the likeness of Duchamp's female alter ego, Rrose Selavy. It sold in Feb. 2009 for $11,689,968.


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