In his enigmatic Etant donnes did Marcel Duchamp secretly pay homage to George Hodel, just as Hodel paid homage to Marcel’s closest friend, Man Ray?
Marcel Duchamp’s Etant donnes
Compared to Black Dahlia crime scene
Click below for Video Montage
I’m not going to blog through a restatement of all of the intellectual theories in support of the argument that there was a very real link between George Hodel, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, William Copley, and all of the other surrealists. Suffice it to say that over the past decade much has been written and the best of it can be found at Mark Nelson and Sarah Bayliss’ web and blog sites- Exquisite Corpse: Surrealism and the Black Dahlia Murder.
LET’S PLAY A GAME
Rather, than wade through a quagmire of thoughts, ideas and opinions, let’s have some fun. Dada went to his office and Moma is having tea with her friends in the backyard. So, let’s play a game- Let’s pretend we can fly, time-travel, and do anything we want. We are only limited by our own imaginations. Here we go.
Let’s jump into BOTH of the pictures (above) and go back to January 15, 1947. Ready? One-two-three, JUMP! We made it! Our left foot is in Duchamp’s, Etant donnes scene and our right foot is in the actual crime-scene. What do we see?
Everything on the ground in front of us looks just like it does in the two different pictures. Let’s look up. What do we see? In Marcel’s scene looking over her left hand to the northeast, in the far distance there is a tall tree and several bushes. They are faraway but still big.
OK, now let’s jump back into the actual crime scene? Looking in the same direction over her left hand what do we see? The same thing. We see a tall tree and bushes. No, wait a minute that is not a tree. It’s something else. It’s a building. A tall building and those are not bushes next to it they are smaller buildings. I know what it is now. I recognize it. It’s the L.A. City Hall, the police building like on the LAPD badges. .
Let’s fly to the real City Hall in the real crime scene and see how far away it is–Hang on! Let’s follow the line to City Hall. It is on the exact same angle as it is in Duchamp’s picture. That was quick! It’s – 6 miles.
(Below view is as Marcel Duchamp would have seen it if he had actually gone to the crime scene with his best friend, Man Ray during his 1948 visit and stay in Los Angeles. The city hall seen in the distance was then, and remains today, L.A.’s most recognizable building.)
Position of body in Etant donnes & crime-scene on-line to City Hall (tall tree) are EXACT.
Bushes or Buildings?
OK, that was fun, but enough playing for today. Moma will be looking for us and Dada will be home any minute, so– back to REALITY.
In BDA Chapter 19 The Final Connections: Man Ray Thoughtprints (pages 239-256) written some eight-years ago, I provided what I believed to be compelling evidence showing my father’s crime to be an homage to Surrealism as well as a very cryptic wink-and-nod acknowledging his close friendship to his Hollywood Dadaist-in-residence-Man Ray. (I also believe it was a one-upmanship, as if to say to Man Ray and perhaps to “The Movement” in general, “Top this!”)
In that early chapter I made reference to the following associations/connections linking George Hodel to both Man Ray and Surrealism:
1. George Hodel’s surgical mimicry of of Man Ray’s two famous artworks: Les Amoureux (The Lovers Lips) and his The Minoutaure (Woman bisected with arms posed above her head) in his crime scene signatures.
Crime scene Man Ray Lovers photo
. Crime Scene Man Ray Minotaur photo
2, George Hodel’s Avenger mailing of his “Werewolf Killer” (Armand Robles) in imitation of Man Ray’s, 1945, Juliet in Silk Stocking.
Juliet Man Ray Hollywood 1945 Black Dahlia Avenger mailing 1947
3. George Hodel’s Modesto’s Lovers personally hand-delivered by George and June Hodel to Juliet Man Ray in Paris, circa 1987 as a further homage to his old friend Man Ray. (Man Ray had died a decade earlier.)
4. George Hodel’s reference in a personal letter (1980) to me of one of my active murder investigations as an “enigma inside a mystery” and my discovery of Man Ray’s photograph of the same name.
5. Man Ray’s 1946 photograph of George Hodel holding Yamantaka. (Photo shows the Tibetan God in the “yab-yum” position, having sexual intercourse with his consort, as George appears to look on in worshipful reverence. Yamantaka was a bull-headed deity and could be considered the Lamaistic counterpart to Man Ray’s own destroyer of maidens, the MINOTAUR.)
George Hodel Man Ray photo 1946 Yamantaka in “yab-yum position engaged in sexual intercourse with consort
The Surrealists were all about” riddles wrapped in mysteries inside enigmas.” Children of Dada playing with pictures and word games, hiding little “secrets” in their paintings and photographs. The uninitiated need not apply. “Catch us if you can.”
William Copley- Another surrealist’s wink-and-nod?
“Man Ray is the Dada of us all.”
As a P.S. I will here include what I consider to be one of Mark Nelson and Sarah Bayliss’ most important discoveries. The 1961 oil painting by surrealist, William Copley entitled,
IT IS MIDNIGHT DR. _________.
Copley, Duchamp and Man Ray were the closest of friends. They were together in Hollywood. Copley visited Duchamp in New York in 1968, (a year before Marcel’s death) and at Duchamp’s request purchased his recently completed, Etant donnes with the understanding that Copley would gift the work to the Philadelphia Museum of Art after Duchamp’s death. Marcel Duchamp died in the fall of 1968 and his Etant donnes was installed at the museum on July 7, 1969.
I quote from Nelson & Bayliss’ Exquisite Corpse: Surrealism And The Black Dahlia Murder, page 144:
“It is Midnight Dr. _____” portrays a nude woman and a fully clothed man. The male figure appears at the upper left, holding a medical bag. The woman reclines near the bottom of the canvas like an odalisque. It is a classical pose, reminiscent of Aridne and so many other nudes in art history. She has closed eyes, a hint of a smile, and one hand resting on her forehead. Above her is an array of instruments, including a scalpel and two saws. It suggests that Copley, distanced from the crime scene by fourteen years and thousands of miles, had not forgotten it.”
UPDATE- 10.14.09- Re. the above Copley painting, a recent email comment points out that in the above Copley painting there are five (5) surgical tools next to the unidentified doctor. The writer asks, “Could these be the letters of his name? She points out that the third letter appears to be a “D” and the fifth possibly an “L”. First name that came to her mind was: H O D E L.
For those interested in further comments on the subject of the Black Dahlia & Surrealism, I would refer you to the forum at the following link.
Surrealist Cast of Characters (Nelson/Bayliss created Map)
Duchamp’s Secret Masterpiece (Wall Street Journal 8/14/2009)
The following FAQs written by me over the past six-years contain additional info as relates to the Surrealism connections.
|Man Ray–Surrealism Connections|
|Man Ray/G. Hodel||18.1|
|Exquisite Corpse Book||19.1|
|Henry Miller/Man Ray||29.2|
|Did Man Ray know?||38.1|
|Henry Miller friend||38.2|
|GHH on transcripts||44.1|
|Harvard Fogg museum||45.1|
|Man Ray/G. Hodel||59.1|