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(b Blainville, Normandy, 28 July 1887; d Neuilly-sur-Seine, 2 Oct. 1968). French-born artist and art theorist who became an American citizen in 1955, the brother of Raymond Duchamp-Villon and Jacques Villon. His output was small (most of his key works are in the Philadelphia Museum of Art) and for long periods he was more or less inactive, but he is regarded as one of the most potent figures in modern art because of the originality and fertility of his ideas. His early works, influenced by Post-Impressionism and Fauvism, were unexceptional, but he sprang to notoriety with Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 (Philadelphia), which was the most discussed work at the Armory Show in 1913. It depicts a stylized, semi-abstract figure walking down a spiral staircase, movement being suggested by the use of overlapping images, in the manner of rapid-fire multiple-exposure photography.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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