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From around 1910, Duchamp-Villon began to rethink his approach to sculpture in the wake of Cubism. At the same time, he felt that modern art should be rooted in the art of the past and he often incorporated traditional motifs in his work. The male and female figures in this relief were based on a relief by the contemporary classical sculptor Aristide Malliol. Duchamp-Villon reworked the composition through four distinct versions, culminating in these radically simplified figures.

June 2009