A dealer and scholar talks about his long-standing fascination with Marcel Duchamp
Francis Naumann is an unusual hybrid within the art world. Both a dealer and a renowned scholar of the works of Marcel Duchamp, he began his career as a student of Renaissance art, working with the late great art historian Leo Steinberg. Eventually he moved into Duchamp studies, and he was instrumental in organizing the landmark 1997 show at the Whitney Museum of American Art, “Making Mischief: Dada Invades New York,” about the subversive French artist and his circle. His 30-year fascination with Duchamp eventually evolved into a book of collected essays, The Recurrent Haunting Ghost, which Calvin Tomkins declared the “the single most informative book you will find on this endlessly fascinating artist.”
Now a gallerist on the Upper East Side, Naumann talks to us about his discoveries, including Duchamp’s head-over-heels love affair with a beautiful Brazilian sculptor, why “the recurrent haunting ghost” continues to hover over the 21st century, and the sorts of artists he now represents.