A Year: Day to Day Men: 5th of November

The Spiral Staircase

November 5, 1876 was the birthdate of sculptor Raymond Duchamp-Villon.

Raymond Duchamp-Villon was born on November 5, 1876, in Damville, near Rouen, France. From 1894 to 1898 he studied medicine at the University of Paris. When illness forced him to abandon his studies, Duchamp-Villon decided to make a career in sculpture. During the early years of the century he moved to Paris, where he exhibited for the first time at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in 1902.

Duchamp-Villon’s second show was held at the same Salon in 1903, the year he settled in Neuilly-sur-Seine, a suburb west of Paris. In 1905 he had his first exhibition at the Salon d’Automne and a show at the Galerie Legrip in Rouen with his brother, the painter Jacques Villon; Duchamp-Villon moved with him to Puteaux two years later.

Duchamp Villon’s participation in the jury of the sculpture section of the Salon d’Automne began in 1907 and was instrumental in promoting the Cubists in the early 1910s. Around this time he  and Jacques Villon, along with their other brother, Marcel Duchamp, attended weekly meetings of the Puteaux group of artists and critics. The Puteaux Group, also known as the Golden Section, was a collective of painters, sculptors, poets and critics associated with Cubism and Orphism, an offshoot of Cubism that focused on pure color and abstraction.

In 1911 Raymond Duchamp-Villon exhibited at the Galerie de l’Art Contemporain in Paris; the following year his work was included in a show organized by the Duchamp brothers at the Salon de la Section d’Or at the Galerie de la Boétie. Duchamp-Villon’s work, along with the work of his two brothers, was exhibited at the Armory Show in New York in 1913 and the Galerie André Groult in Paris, the Galerie S. V. U. Mánes in Prague, and Der Sturm gallery in Berlin in 1914.

During World War One, Duchamp-Villon served in the army in a medical capacity, but was able to continue work on his major sculpture “The Horse”, a composite image of an animal and machine which he finished in 1914. Duchamp-Villon overturned conventional representation of form to suggest instead its inner forces, which he associated with the energy of the machine.

Raymond Duchamp-Villon contracted typhoid fever in late 1916 while stationed at Champagne; the disease ultimately resulted in his death on October 9, 1918, in the military hospital at Cannes.

Leave a Reply