PHILADELPHIA (AP)—The Philadelphia Museum of Art announced
today that it had sold the notorious replica of Marcel Duchamp’s With
Hidden Noise, which
had been created to help pull off one of the most audacious art thefts of this
century. The thief, who went by the name of Keller, and who has not yet been apprehended,
manufactured a near-perfect copy of the Duchamp original and, via means that have
yet to be determined, managed to substitute the replica for the original. The
theft-by-replacement was revealed some weeks later when letters from Keller detailing
his crime were delivered by registered mail to both the museum and the local newspapers.
A subsequent police investigation discovered the original With Hidden Noise and Keller’s diaries in his otherwise empty apartment.
The museum declined to identify the buyer of the replica or the final price, though
one museum employee, who wished to remain anonymous, noted that, if cost is any
indication, then the replica of With Hidden Noise is the most valuable “Duchamp”
ever sold. “I’m sure that Marcel Duchamp would have appreciated the
irony,” the employee said . . .