French Military Paper

Original version, 1918
Original Version:

1918, New York
present location unknown
black and red ink, pencil on paper
25 x 21.5 cm

Inscribed in the lower left with the phrase, "(from) Marcel Duchamp / 1918," this Readymade was purposely distanced from its author by none other than Duchamp himself.

French Military Paper essentially consists of a list Duchamp made while working as the secretary to a captain in the French Purchasing Commission in New York. He earned 25 dollars per week and worked there for six months, until several weeks before leaving for Buenos Aires in mid-August 1918 (Schwarz 657). As a written document, this piece seems similar to Tzanck Check. However, it does not refer to monetary concepts as the latter does. Instead, the importance of this document doesn't lie as much in the inscription as in its state of being crossed out. This idea of rebelling against the symbolic authority of a typewritten list with handwritten, scribbled cross-outs proves very Duchampian.

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