Duchamp’s moustachioed Mona Lisa sells for $750,000

News Hour

One of Marcel Duchamp’s reproductions of Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”, on to which he pencilled a beard and moustache, has sold for 632,500 euros ($750,000) at Sotheby’s in Paris.

It was part of the sale of a collection of surrealist works owned by American Arthur Brandt, with 110 pieces fetching 3.9 million euros, including commission.

However, some standout pieces, including a work by Francis Picabia, which was estimated at 700,000 euros, did not find a buyer.

Duchamp’s version of the “Mona Lisa” was one of nine works in the sale by the French artist, who is seen as the father of conceptual art.

The “Mona Lisa” works are entitled “L.H.O.O.Q”, which in French sounds like the phrase “elle a chaud au cul”, roughly translated as “she’s horny”. It had a pre-sale estimate of 400,000 to 600,000 euros.

The version that sold late Saturday was created in 1964 after the original 1919 so-called “ready made” piece.

The other Duchamp pieces on offer at the auction included “Boite-en-valise” or “Box in a Suitcase”, which beat its pre-sale estimate of 180,000 to 250,000 euros, selling for 319,500 euros.

The work is a portable museum featuring 68 of the artist’s most famous works, reproduced or miniaturised. Seven distinct versions were made in limited edition between 1941 and 1966.

A painting by Swiss artist Kurt Seligmann called “Buste d’homme”, estimated at 60,000 to 80,000 euros, was sold for 181,250 euros, “not far from a world record for the artist”, according to Sotheby’s.

Among the six pieces offered from artist and photographer Man Ray, “The Lovers”, a set of lips engraved in lead and then painted, accompanied by a rope, sold for 81,250 euros, far above the upper pre-sale estimate of 25,000 euros.

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