To make this piece, which reads like a visual demonstration of the workings of chance, Duchamp dropped three threads, each exactly one meter long, from a height of one meter.
Instead, Duchamp wanted to use art to serve the mind.
Three Duchamp brothers, left to right: Marcel Duchamp, Jacques Villon, and Raymond Duchamp-Villon in the garden of Jacques Villon's studio in Puteaux, France, 1914, (Smithsonian Institution collections), his maternal grandfather, filled the house, and the family liked to play chess, read books, paint, and make music together.
Nude Descending A Staircase initially met with an unfavorable response at the Salon des Indépendants, dominated by the Cubist avant-garde who objected to what they deemed as its Futurist leanings, but enjoyed a succes de scandale at the 1913 Armory Show in New York.
More than a study of the body's movement through space, the work is an early figurative exercise in painting cinematically, akin to Eadweard Muybridge's sequences of photographs that anticipated motion pictures.
Duchamp has had an immense impact on twentieth-century and twenty first-century art, and he had a seminal influence on the development of conceptual art.
By World War I, he had rejected the work of many of his fellow artists (such as Henri Matisse) as "retinal" art, intended only to please the eye.
After attending a performance of Roussel's Impressions d'Afrique, Duchamp envisioned a sculptural assemblage as a stage of sorts.
Preliminary studies for this stage, which would have been over nine feet tall, included depictions of an abstracted "bride" being attacked by machine-like figures in chaotic motion.
A taste for jokes, tongue-in-cheek wit and subversive humor, rife with sexual innuendoes, characterizes Duchamp's work and makes for much of its enjoyment.
He fashioned puns out of everyday expressions which he conveyed through visual means.