Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Bride and the Bachelors: Five Masters of the Avant-Garde” as Want to Read:
The Bride and the Bachelors: Five Masters of the Avant-Garde
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Bride and the Bachelors: Five Masters of the Avant-Garde

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  153 ratings  ·  22 reviews
The Bride and the Bachelors, published here in a revised and expanded edition, is one of the essential art books of the last half-century. Its witty and readable accounts of the lives and work of Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, Jean Tinguely, Robert Rauschenberg, and Merce Cunningham reveal the ways in which they influenced one another, and opened the way to new perspectives on ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published November 18th 1976 by Penguin Books (first published May 3rd 1965)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Bride and the Bachelors, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Bride and the Bachelors

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 349)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Dec 14, 2014 Tim rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: art
This was an enjoyable read; a light, but still informative look at the lives and works of 5 important modern artists. These were originally published as New Yorker pieces in the 1960s, and they are well-written and informative, but with a nice sampling of anecdotes and no heavy helpings of theory or criticism.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Duchamp piece and I can see why many people are so fascinated with him. He was a brilliant conceptual artist - the first conceptual artist? - and an enigmatic figu
Newly revised and expanded edition of the 1965 classic thanks to the Gagosian Gallery. There is a new introduction by the author, and 40 new pages of color illustrations, plus Tomkin’s most recent profile of Jasper Johns (which is just excellent). Lively and highly entertaining read of the most influential voices of the avant-garde; Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, Jean Tinguely, Robert Rauschenberg, and Merce Cunningham (I think Cunningham's essay was added in the revised 68’edition). Tinguely sugges ...more
Calvin Tomkins' book The Bride and the Bachelors takes its name from Marcel Duchamp's collage on glass The Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even, a work that was apparently well-known in 1965 when this book was first published. The book is very much a document of its time, in all the right ways: it captures the spirit of the avant garde movement, in the visual and performing arts, without getting bogged down in trivial gossip or personalities. The five artists profiled--Duchamp, sculptor Jean Tin ...more
The book contains five biographical chapters on the art and lives of Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, Jean Tinguely, Robert Rauschenberg and Merce Cunningham. So far, I've read Duchamp and part of Cage, and I'm starting to realize that these artists construct their lives in the same way that they construct their art, by following absurd and singular internal logic. Duchamp makes elaborate turntable gadgets and spends years painting on mirrors. Then he gives up art abruptly to play chess and cheat at r ...more
Calvin Tomkins is HIGHLY recommended for any of his books on Art and/ or Art Criticism. This book is a concise distillation of 5 very important 20th century artists. These artists--strange, obsessed, mysteriously driven often support each other though they may not share similar backgrounds or mediums. I, for one among a handful, find their efforts enriching and inspiring.
Earl Baugh
Excellent book. Great way to learn about Modern Art.
Douglas Gorney
While Cage, Rauschenberg, Tinguely et al might not be cutting-edge circa 2014, their influence on contemporary art is unavoidable. Writing as and when he did, Tomkins was able to convey a sense of the wonderful newness of their moment, the earnest sense of possibility as yet unfrieghted by all of the deadening *import* successive generations of art critics have piled on.

Witty, lapidary prose in the best New Yorker style. For me a top-five book, fiction or non-fiction.
The book is a little dated, but the profiles are excellent. The overlapping careers of these artists gives a true sense of what modernism was in the middle of the twentieth century.
Read about how Yves Tinguely's art is much cooler than Duchamp. For example, while Duchamp made the "Large Glass", Tinguely made an art machine that painted an enormous roll of paper hooked up to a stationary bicycle that shot the painted paper out into the audience as Tinguely pedaled.
Andreas Brændhaugen
Just the right amount of density for a book about art history. Tomkins brought me deeper inside the artist's brain than any other historian I've read.
Ginger Markley
Duchamp, Tinguely, Cage, Rauschenberg, Cunningham. Book focuses on the artists' lives rather than solely on their artwork. Concise yet seemingly thorough.
If you plan on being an artist and you don't read this book then you have dropped at least fifty points on the art-o-meter.
an interesting comparison of modern artists including cage, tinguely, and duchamp. very approachable even for the novice academic.
I didn't actually read the entire book, just the parts on Duchamp, Tinguely, and Rauschenberg. Ting-a-ling.
Ben Shear
only read duchamp & cage sections, but well written and "opened" up the way i think about art.
Jan 15, 2008 Tc added it
Great book and should be read by everyone who wants to understand 5 important 20th century figures
Jaclyn Jean
Seminal work of art criticism. Must-read for anyone studying art for school or personal interest.
The gold star standard for profiles on artists of this era. Fantastic.
I've never been this inspired. I learned how to "read" art from this book.
Evan Cordes
Great great overview of all five artists represented.
This book made me love Marcel Duchamp.
Jun 19, 2008 Elatia rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Elatia by: aaron
Leah marked it as to-read
Jul 29, 2015
Jill marked it as to-read
Jul 06, 2015
James marked it as to-read
Jul 06, 2015
Denise added it
Jun 16, 2015
Tomás added it
Jun 14, 2015
Janne Mäkelä
Janne Mäkelä marked it as to-read
Jun 11, 2015
Gabriela Bruzadin
Gabriela Bruzadin marked it as to-read
May 31, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Banquet Years: The Origins of the Avant-Garde in France, 1885 to World War I
  • Dialogues With Marcel Duchamp
  • New Art City: Manhattan at Mid-Century
  • The Writings of Marcel Duchamp
  • Daybook: The Journal of an Artist
  • Modernism: The Lure of Heresy from Baudelaire to Beckett and Beyond
  • Joseph Cornell's Theater of the Mind: Selected Diaries, Letters, and Files
  • Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell
  • Dime-Store Alchemy
  • The Sight of Death: An Experiment in Art Writing
  • A Life of Picasso, Vol. 2: The Painter of Modern Life, 1907-1917
  • Experimental Music: Cage and Beyond
  • Becoming Modern: The Life of Mina Loy
  • Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees: A Life of Contemporary Artist Robert Irwin
  • Conceptual Art (Phaidon Art and Ideas)
  • Visual Shock: A History of Art Controversies in American Culture
  • The Infinity of Lists
  • Six Years: The Dematerialization of the Art Object from 1966 to 1972
Calvin Tomkins is an author and art critic for The New Yorker magazine.

After receiving an undergraduate degree from Princeton University in 1948 he became a journalist. He worked for Radio Free Europe from 1953 to 1957 and for Newsweek from 1957 to 1961, before writing his first piece for The New Yorker in 1958. He joined the magazine as a staff writer in 1960.

(adapted from Wikipedia)
More about Calvin Tomkins...
Duchamp Lives of the Artists: Portraits of Ten Artists Whose Work and Lifestyles Embody the Future of Contemporary Art Living Well Is the Best Revenge (Modern Library) Off the Wall: A Portrait of Robert Rauschenberg The World Of Marcel Duchamp: 1887   1968

Share This Book