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Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven: The Mama of Dada

Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven
The Mama of Dada

(1874–1927, Germany)

Friends, today I have for you a CONTROVERSY.

Did a woman create the most influential and HILARIOUS artwork of the 20th century?

Maybe you know this piece, “Fountain.”

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The most notable example of dada readymade art.

It’s an upside-down urinal that was supposedly plucked from the trash and signed “R. Mutt” by the artist Marcel Duchamp.




Controversy has erupted in the art world over who created “Fountain.”

Many now believe it was Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven (A GREAT NAME BTW), and not Duchamp.

One piece of evidence is a letter Duchamp wrote to his sister, that said:

“One of my female friends under a masculine pseudonym Richard Mutt sent in a porcelain urinal as a sculpture.”

Many folks think that “female friend” was Baroness Elsa.

And it’s exactly the kind of art she would create.

Elsa had an edgy sense of humor.

She delighted in found objects.

And she was fascinated by the body and all of its unseemly functions.

Elsa is perhaps the coolest Baroness that ever was? She “wore brightly colored makeup, postage stamps on each cheek, and a shaved head shellacked in various hues.”

“Her accoutrements also included live birds, packs of dogs, a tomato-can bra, arms full of bangles, and flashing lights.”

“The Baroness became a downtown Manhattan legend, known as much for her dazzling costumes and aggressive seduction techniques as for her visceral sculptures and witty poetry.”

Whether she created “Fountain” or not (SHE DID)...

Baroness Elsa is a spectacular example of a bohemian woman living wild and free and creating whatever ridiculous, silly, fantastic art tickled her fancy.

There’s SO much more to read about her… so KEEP READING...

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