Never knew this. Always thought Duchamp was using the word Mutt to go against the purity of Modernism.

signature “R. Mutt” – It is not clear whether Duchamp had in mind the German “Armut” (meaning “poverty”). Later in his life Duchamp himself commented on the name of the alter ego he created for this work: ‘Mutt’ comes from Mott Works, the name of a large sanitary equipment manufacturer. But Mott was too close so I altered it to Mutt, after the daily cartoon strip Mutt and Jeff. But not even that much, just R. MUTT.” If we separate the capital and lowercase letters we get “R.M” and “utt”, “R.M” would stand for “Readymade” which is the fountain itself and “utt” when read out loud sounds like “eut été” in French (much like Duchamp’s L.H.O.O.Q.). Together it means “Readymade once was, 1917″. Word games like this are common in Marcel Duchamp’s work.

via Fountain (Duchamp) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.