Art Institute of Chicago acquires modern art piece

CHICAGO — The Art Institute of Chicago beat out other top museums to acquire a 1914 modern art piece by Marcel Duchamp.

Bottle Rack by the conceptual artist has been on display since Tuesday, the Chicago Tribune reported. It was acquired from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

"If there are three sculptures that would define sculpture in the 20th century, this has to be one of the three," said Thaddaeus Ropac, the art dealer who brokered Bottle Rack's sale to the museum.

Art Institute President and Eloise W. Martin Director James Rondeau said the piece "is among the most pivotal, landmark works in Marcel Duchamp's profoundly influential body of work."

Ann Goldstein is the deputy director and chair of the modern art department. She said Duchamp's work revolutionized the way we think about what a piece of art is, how it's made and the ways it's displayed.

Duchamp's piece is on display at the Modern Wing gallery across from the 1914 sculpture Horse by his brother, Raymond Duchamp-Villon.

All parties involved in the acquisition said the price is confidential. American artist Robert Rauschenberg bought Bottle Rack in 1959 from a New York exhibition, the Tribune reported.

"I am delighted that this groundbreaking work by Duchamp, which was one of Bob Rauschenberg's proudest possessions, has been acquired by the Art Institute of Chicago," Senior Curator David White said. "Duchamp and his work hugely influenced Rauschenberg's thinking about art and the Bottle Rack will continue to provoke and enrich viewers as it joins the Institute's extraordinary collection."

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Information from: Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com

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