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Text block page 1, verso. Part of artist's book with original gelatin silver print back and front covers by Duchamp and original collage by Hugnet.
Overall: 29.3 x 21.4 x 1.5 cm (11 9/16 x 8 7/16 x 9/16 in.)
Gift of David Raymond 2007.280.c.b
© 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Hugnet devised a verbal-visual form that he called poem-decoupage by collaging cut-up lines of poetry and pictorial elements. The left-hand pages of the book bear texts and small illustrations printed in letterpress, a relief process that adds tactility and physical depth to the page. The right-hand pages contain poem-decoupages printed in collotype occasionally adorned with hand coloring. A flatter, photographic process, collotype imparts harmony to the disparate media Hugnet employed in the original collages of photographs, wood engravings, magazine advertisements, and text from newspapers.
Dice, often symbols of chance in Dada and Surrealist art, have only six faces. Twenty deluxe copies of The Seventh Face of the Die had a second exterior set of covers composed of hand-colored photographs enclosed within sheets of clear cellulose acetate. Created by Duchamp, the covers can be construed as references to the denuded female form in his famous transparent sculpture, The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass). An image of Duchamp’s sculpture Why Not Sneeze, Rrose Sélavy?, reproduced on the original cover, suggests that the book itself be considered a form of assisted ready-made. Indeed, like Why Not Sneeze it comprises a group of mundane, industrially produced objects—in this case printed words and images—that have been selected, joined, and modified by the artist. Each of the 20 deluxe copies was also accompanied by an original collage by Hugnet. The text here reads, from top to bottom:
To the women who employ
With all the dresses
Speaks, hears and sees
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