Prelude to a Broken Arm

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Prelude to a Broken Arm
Artist Marcel Duchamp
Year 1915
Type ready-made
Location Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut, United States

Prelude to a Broken Arm (En prévision du bras cassé in French, also called In Advance of the Broken Arm) is a 1915 sculpture by Dada artist Marcel Duchamp that consisted of a regular snow shovel with the title and "from Marcel Duchamp 1915" painted on the handle. An antidote to what he called "retinal art", this sculpture was the second of a series of sculptures that he called "ready-mades", the most famous of which is his 1917 Fountain. At the time, the term "ready-made" referred to manufactured goods as opposed to handmade goods, but Duchamp used the term to describe "an ordinary object elevated to the dignity of a work of art by the mere choice of an artist".[1] The original was hung from a wire in the studio and has since been lost.[2] It is believed that the shovel was mistaken for an ordinary snow shovel and was removed to move snow off the sidewalks of Chicago. A replica of the sculpture is on display at the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut.[3]


  1. ^ "The Unfindable Readymade". Marcel Duchamp Studies Online Journal. Retrieved 2014-07-31.
  2. ^ Shearer, Rhonda Roland (1997). "Impossible Bed". Art & Academe. 10 (1): 26–62.
  3. ^ Marcel Duchamp, In Advance of the Broken Arm, , Yale University Art Gallery

External links

  • Museum of Modern Art, New York City, In Advance of the Broken Arm
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