Exhibition banner for Duchamp Man Ray Picabia The Moment Art Changed Forever at Tate Modern

Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, and Francis Picabia were key figures in the history of modernism. Their pioneering ideas about art continue to reverberate to this day.

The three artists have usually been looked at in isolation or within the context of larger movements. This exhibition focuses on the connections and parallels between their works, showing how the artists derived support and inspiration from each other.

Duchamp and Picabia first met in Paris in 1911. They shared an irreverent and anarchistic attitude towards life and art, and quickly became friends. They went to New York in 1915 and got to know Man Ray, who was also searching for an individual form of expression. Together the three men helped to create the Dada movements in New York and, later, Paris, and remained friends throughout their lives.

Although the three men followed their own paths and at times were geographically widely separated, they enjoyed a special affinity. They socialised together, discussed ideas and collaborated on art works and publications. They also responded to each other’s interests with wit and a sense of fun. The generosity and warmth of their dialogues show the extent to which they had mapped a common intellectual territory and shared similar personal and artistic beliefs.

Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968)
Man Ray (1890–1976)
Francis Picabia (1879–1953)