Scott Reyburn gets a great story. Thaddaeus Ropac is selling one of Marcel Duchamp’s few ready-mades to a museum. The work was owned by Robert Rauschenberg. His foundation is selling the work to fund Rauscheberg’s catalogues raisonné:
A unique version of Marcel Duchamp’s revolutionary “Porte-bouteilles” (Bottle Rack, or Bottle Dryer) sculpture will be offered for sale next month from the foundation of the American artist Robert Rauschenberg.
The sculpture, one of five surviving variants of Duchamp’s first pure “ready-made,” will be the centerpiece of an exhibition opening on Oct. 20 at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Paris celebrating the centenary of these radical artworks. It will be the only Duchamp work available for sale. Neither the gallery nor the Rauschenberg foundation would disclose the asking price, though both made it clear it is only for sale to a public museum.
“That was the understanding. It cannot go to a private collector,” said Thaddaeus Ropac, who has galleries in Paris and Salzburg, and who is opening a London branch in the spring. “We wanted to present it properly in an exhibition with its own catalog, rather than have it for sale in a back room. We have a list of top museums in mind.”
Unique ready-mades by Duchamp, as distinct from his editioned pieces, rarely, if ever, appear for sale.
For Sale: A Rare Duchamp (The New York Times)