Boîte alerte (Mailbox)
Marcel Duchamp (French, 1887-1968)
Not on View

Boîte Alerte was produced for the Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme, held December 15, 1959 through February 15, 1960, at the Galerie Daniel Cordier in Paris. The Surrealist exhibition called for a “return to eroticism” and Duchamp did not disappoint. The green-cardboard mailbox includes a host of letters, texts, telegrams, and postcards representing or made by the artists in the show. Duchamp ensured that there would be no mistaking what was included, as he blatantly labeled the front “Missives Lascives”—lascivious missives. Covertly, he also highlighted the letters “EROS” in the exhibition’s title on the side of the box.

This deluxe edition of the Boîte Alerte includes the rectified readymade Couple of Laundresses’ Aprons. The potholders were put inside the double-glazed, flat-hinged frame for the 1963 Duchamp retrospective and have remained displayed this way ever since.


  • Artist Name: Marcel Duchamp (French, 1887-1968)
  • Title: Boîte alerte (Mailbox)
  • Date: 1959
  • Medium: Prints and facsimiles in special box
  • Edition: Edition of 200, No. 166
  • Dimensions: 11-1/4 x 7-1/8 x 2-1/2 in. (28.6 x 18.1 x 6.4 cm)
  • Printer: Daniel Cordier
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Museum, Museum Purchase
  • Accession Number: P.1965.107
  • Copyright: © Succession Marcel Duchamp / ADAGP, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2016 Reproduction, including downloading of ARS works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Object Information

Marcel Duchamp Redux

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2008-04-25 to 2008-12-08

Impossible Realities: Marcel Duchamp and the Surrealist Tradition

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1991-07-04 to 1992-03-08

Marcel Duchamp: A Retrospective Exhibition

  • Pasadena Art Museum, 1963-10-08 to 1963-11-03

46 N. Los Robles: A History of The Pasadena Art Museum

  • USC Pacific Asia Museum, 2011-11-17 to 2012-04-08

Duchamp to Pop

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2016-03-04 to 2016-08-29

Lost but Found: Assemblage, Collage and Sculpture, 1920-2002

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2004-11-05 to 2005-03-28
  • Stephanie D’Alessandro and Matthew Gale, Surrealism Beyond Borders, 2021, fig. 312 p. 312 (ill.)

Additional Artwork by Artist

Bottle Dryer (Bottlerack) Marcel Duchamp 1963 (replica of 1914 original)
Boîte-en-valise (Box in a Suitcase) Marcel Duchamp 1961 (original 1941)
Couple of Laundress's Aprons Marcel Duchamp 1959

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