The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., has announced a gift of more than fifty works of art from trustee emerita Barbara and Aaron Levine.
The gift includes seminal works by Marcel Duchamp spanning his entire career, including a selection of his iconic "ready-mades," as well as fifteen portraits, related photographs, and works on paper by Duchamp’s contemporaries and those he influenced, including Man Ray, Tristan Tzara, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Diane Arbus, and Irving Penn.
The Levines also are donating a collection of more than a hundred and fifty works about Duchamp dating from the late 1930s through the present that includes a number of first editions, rare catalogs, and ephemera. Together, the artworks and texts will establish the Hirshhorn as one of the foremost Duchamp study centers in the world.
"In the early twentieth century, Marcel Duchamp reshaped the definition of what we might consider to be art today, setting the stage for all that followed," said Hirshhorn director Melissa Chiu. "We are so grateful to the Levines for this significant gift, which will build on [our] substantial holdings of modern art [by the likes of] Henri Matisse, Alberto Giacometti, and Alexander Calder. This gift of artworks will enhance visitors’ understanding of Duchamp’s incomparable influence on the next generations of artists."
"We have been collecting conceptual art for a good part of our lives and have been involved with the Hirshhorn for nearly twenty years," said the Levines in a statement. "This donation of art gives the public access to our collection of Duchamp works that we have lived with and loved. A free museum with nearly a million visitors a year is the perfect home for these art works."