Jacques Villon (Gaston Duchamp), French, 1875 - 1963
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Gaston Duchamp, the elder brother of Marcel Duchamp, marked his decision to become an artist by changing his name to Jacques Villon after the medieval French poet François Villon. After devoting his early career to producing prints and caricatures for newspapers and illustrated journals, Villon discovered Cubism around 1910 and spent the rest of his life exploring its spatial complexities. Young Girl is a portrait of the artist's twenty-three-year-old sister Yvonne, seated in an armchair. The composition is constructed out of small, volumetric pyramids whose rich colors illuminate the canvas with a crystalline light, a technique that Villon evolved from a description in Leonardo da Vinci's Treatise on Painting.