This work has been authenticated by Mme Jacqueline Matisse Monnier and the Association Marcel Duchamp.
In 1946, André Breton began plans for another international Surrealist exhibition, along the lines of those he had organized in 1938 in Paris, and in 1942 in New York. As for those two earlier shows, he enlisted Duchamp's help, who, among other things, agreed to design the cover of the catalogue. He decided that it should feature the image of a woman's bare breast encircled by a swathe of black velvet fabric bearing the provocative title PRIÈRE DE TOUCHER [Please touch], a request that was emblazoned in capital letters on a label attached to the back cover. For the regular edition, a black-and-white photograph of this subject was prepared in accordance with Duchamp's instructions by Rémy Duval (1907-1984), a photographer from Rouen best known for a book of nudes published in Paris in 1936 (R. Duval, 28 Études de Nus, Paris, 1936. Duval was also known for his photographs of artists in their studios, and later for his book Colmar, de las victoire á la liberation de Paris, 1945). For the deluxe edition, actual foam-rubber falsies were painted and glued to a light-pink cardboard cover by Ducahmp with the assistance of the Italian-born American painter Enrico Donati. "By the end we were fed up but we got the job done," Donati later recalled. "I remarked that I had never thought I would get tired of handling so many breasts, and Marcel said: 'Maybe that's the whole idea'" (J. Gough-Cooper & J. Caumont, "Ephemerides," entry for 5/17/47, quoted in P. Hulten, ed., Marcel Duchamp, Cambridge, 1993). Approximately a year later, when a copy of this catalogue was sent through the mails from Paris to Geneva, it was confiscated by the authorities, "not because of its contents, but [because] of its cover, which is considered 'immoral'" (Ibid.). This example is exceptional, for it was signed by Duchamp.