Tracking Duchamp's Perfume Bottle
By Eli Epstein-Deutsch
posted: 04-05-11
Advertisement for Un Air Embaumé, Rigaud Perfume, La Rire no. 88 (9 October 1920)
Image Source

In a recent post (, this website mentioned that Marcel Duchamp's 1921 readymade Belle Haleine: Eau de Voilette, an empty glass perfume bottle branded by the French scent company Rigaud, was taken from Yves Saint Lauren's collection and sold at a Christie's auction for a bank-breaking 8.9 million Euros. What happened to it then?

While the answer is not fully clear, it certainly touched down at Berlin's Neue Nationalgalerie, an art museum designed by the late Bauhaus instructor Mies Van Der Rohe and containing the cream of German Expressionist and  Neue Sachlichkeit art, from Kirchner and Franz Marc to George Grosz and Otto Dix. Displaying the cageyness and fleetness associated with its "creator," the Rigaud perfume bottle appeared at the Nationalgalerie for a total of three days, between January 27th or 30th of this year. The only trace it left was a small news report and several eyewitness accounts, which confirm that the whole upper floor of the Van Der Rohe building was devoted to the 6 inch high bottle. Thus demonstrated is the ongoing ability of Duchamp's eccentric selections nearly 100 years ago to colonize art institutions and command valuable brick and mortar space.

So where is Belle Haleine now? Write in with sightings...


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