Last work of surrealist Marcel Duchamp discovered
The last ever art work created by the influential French surrealist Marcel Duchamp has been discovered in an apartment in in northeastern Spain.
The artist is believed to be responsible for a corner fireplace built within the residence in the resort of Cadaques in Catalonia where he spent the final months before his death in October 1968.
The work had been rumoured to exist after sketches of the design were found among the artist's papers after he died.
His friend and fellow member of the surrealist movement Man Ray had photographed a scale model of the design but it was unclear whether the fireplace and chimney above it had ever actually been built.
Duchamp, whose seminal piece - the 1917 urinal entitled "fountain" - was voted most influential artwork of the 20th century in a 2004 survey, was one of the leading members of the Dadaist and Surrealist movement.
The whereabouts of the elusive final work has been revealed by Huc Malla, director of an art gallery in the seaside town of Cadaques, who found the piece after a discussion with the British artist Richard Hamilton, a friend and follower of Duchamp."We knew about the chimney from references but it couldn't be found in the home Duchamp owned for the final seven years of his life," Mr Malla told The Daily Telegraph. "So I naturally thought it didn't exist until I met Richard Hamilton."
The British pop artist and creator of the cover for the Beatles' White Album directed him to a house that Duchamp had rented when he became too frail to climb the stairs of his own residence.
"He couldn't make it to the top floor so he rented somewhere else for the last months of his life and that is where he had the chimney built," Mr Malla explained.
Years later the property was sold and divided into flats. "The current owner who bought the place in 1989 had no idea of the importance of the structure in the corner of room but luckily it was in perfect condition," said Mr Malla.
He said that several art critics raised doubts over whether such a home improvement constituted "a work of art".
"But there is clearly an interest in the last creation by someone of Duchamp's stature," he said.