L.H.O.O.Q. or La Joconde
1964 (replica of 1919 original)
Marcel Duchamp (French, 1887-1968)
Not on View

In 1919, Duchamp performed a seemingly adolescent prank using a postcard that represented the ideal of feminine beauty, Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa. He drew a mustache and goatee on her face and added the letters "L.H.O.O.Q." The caption combines Duchamp's gleeful sense of wit with his love of wordplay: eliding the letters in French sounds like, "Elle a chaud au cul" ("There is fire down below"). The image trespasses traditional boundaries of appropriation by presenting a reproduction, however tarted up, as an original work of art. The masculinized female introduces the theme of gender reversal, which was popular with Duchamp, who adopted his own female pseudonym, Rrose Sélavy, pronouced "Eros, c'est la vie" ("Eros, that's life"). La Joconde instantly became his most famous readymade and a symbol for the international Dada movement, which rebelled against everything that art represented, particularly the appeal to tradition and beauty. The term "rectified and readymade" indicates that the artist has altered a found, mass-produced object.


  • Artist Name: Marcel Duchamp (French, 1887-1968)
  • Title: L.H.O.O.Q. or La Joconde
  • Date: 1964 (replica of 1919 original)
  • Medium: Colored reproduction, heightened with pencil and white gouache
  • Edition: Edition of 38 (35 numbered and 3 not numbered), No. 6 (Arturo Schwartz edition)
  • Dimensions: comp: 10-1/4 x 7 in. (26.0 x 17.8 cm); sheet: 11-3/4 x 7-7/8 in. (29.8 x 20.0 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Museum, Gift of Virginia Dwan
  • Accession Number: P.1969.094
  • Copyright: © Association Marcel Duchamp / ADAGP, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2017 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

Art Since the 1960's: California Experiments

  • Orange County Museum of Art, 2007-07-15 to 2008-09-19

Marcel Duchamp Festival

  • Irvine, University of California Irivine, Art Gallery, 1970-11-06 to 1971-12-01

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

Recent Acquisitions, 1969

  • Pasadena Art Museum, 1969-11-24 to 1970-01-18

Van Gogh to Picasso: Selected Master Prints from 1890-1960

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1986-08-07 to 1987-04-26

Works from the Pasadena Art Museum

  • Vancouver Art Gallery, 1970-04-14 to 1970-05-10

Gaze: Portraiture After Ingres

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2009-10-30 to 2010-04-05

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

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2004-11-05 to 2005-03-28

Duchamp to Pop

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

Radical Past: Contemporary Art and Music in Pasadena, 1960-1974

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1999-02-07 to 1999-06-06
  • Armory Center for the Arts, 1999-02-07 to 1999-04-11
  • Art Center College of Design (Pasadena, Calif.), 1999-02-07 to 1999-04-25
  • Bergen, Phillip, Artweek, p. 10
  • Knight, Christopher, Los Angeles Times, p. 78
  • Pasadena Art Museum, Recent Acquisitions 1969, 1969, no. 46 p. 31

Additional Artwork by Artist

Bottle Dryer (Bottlerack) Marcel Duchamp 1963 (replica of 1914 original)
Boîte alerte (Mailbox) Marcel Duchamp 1959
Boîte-en-valise (Box in a Suitcase) Marcel Duchamp 1961 (original 1941)

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