shigeko_kubota_duchamp_cage_chessFotografia por Shigeko Kubota (Toronto, 1968)

“I don’t play very much anymore. I have a hard time winning, even from the wood pushers as we call them. Once or twice a year I go to the Marshall Chess Club across the street, but that’s all. You can forget about something you love very much. It’s a Zen concept.”

Marcel Duchamp (The New York Times, 1967)


cri_000000229287Max Ernst . The King Playing with the Queen (original 1944 / cast 1954)

“In this sculpture, a horned king towers over a conical queen and a sextet of infantry. Ernst first displayed the plaster version of this sculpture in The Imagery of Chess, a 1944 exhibition at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York. The conflict and hierarchy inherent to chess may have served as an allegory for World War II, which had driven Ernst into exile in the United States. Or, as Ernst’s wife, the artist Dorothea Tanning, later wrote, a hypothetical king and queen playing a game involving kings and queens – there is no end to the interpretations that could be put upon such a situation.

Museum of Modern Art


julien wasser (1963)Fotografia por Julien Wasser (Pasadena, 1963)

1.e4 c5 2.Cf3 Cf6 3.Cc3 d5 4.exd5 Cxd5 5.Bb5+ Cc6 6.CxCd5 DxCd5 7.O-O Bg4 8.Be2 e6 9.c4 Dd7 10.h3 Bh5 11.b3 Be7 12.Bb2 O-O 13.g4 Bg6 14.Ce5 CxCe5 15.BxCe5 Tad8 16.Bc3 Bd3 17.Te1 Bg5 18.f3 Dd6 19.Bf1 Bh4 20.Be5 Dc6 21.Te3 BxBf1 22.RxBf1 Bg5 23.Te4 Txd2 24.De1 Tfd8 25.h4 Be7 26.Bc3 T2d3 27.Rg2 TxBc3 28.DxTc3 Bf6 29.De1 BxTa1 30.DxBa1 Td2+ 31.Rg3 Dd6+ 32.De5 DxDe5+ 33.TxDe5 b6 34.a3 Td3 35.b4 Txa3 36.bxc5 Ta5 37.cxb6 axb6 38.Tb5 TxTb5 39.cxTb5 Rf8 40.Rf4 Re7 41.Re5 f6+ 42.Rd4 Rd6 43.f4 e5 44.fxe5+ fxe5+ 45. Re4 g6 46.g5 Rc5 (0-1)

F. Dann / Marcel Duchamp (Pasadena Art Museum, 1963)


2001-62-1504-pmaFotografia por International News Photos (Nova Iorque, 1945)

“At The Imagery of Chess Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning play with a Max Ernst chess set on an unidentified table. Near the window, Muriel Streeter (Levy) plays Julien Levy with the Josef Hartwig 1923 Bauhaus Chess Set.  Between them hangs a Xenia Cage mobile. On the wall a small unidentified painting hangs above Marcel Duchamp’s Pocket Chess Set with Rubber Glove. On the pedestal below it sit two unidentified sculptores, possibly by Ossip Zadkine. On the wall above Dorothea Tanning is Leon Kelly’s The Plateau of Chess.”

Philadelphia Museum of Art


2007-7-1(1--31)-pmaJulien Levy . Chess Set: Board and Thirty Pieces (1944)

“Art dealer Julien Levy made the plaster prototypes for this chess set in the garage studio of a house on Long Island that he and his wife shared with artists Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning during the summer of 1944. The round-bottomed pieces – formed using discarded shells from soft-boiled eggs as molds and stored in an egg carton – were intended to nestle comfortably in the sand of the nearby beach. For use off the beach, Levy made a plaster chessboard, basing its overall size and thickness on Alberto Giacometti’s 1932 marble sculpture On ne joue plus (No More Bets). He inserted seashells into the wet plaster to accommodate the shape of the pieces and to reference the set’s original function. These oak chess pieces, which are based on the original plaster prototypes, were likely made by a local carpenter. Levy was inspired by the experience of designing and making this chess set to commission thirty-two artists (the number of chess pieces in a set) to invent their own chess pieces and boards for an exhibition at his Manhattan gallery. This show, called The Imagery of Chess, opened on December 12, 1944.”

Philadelphia Museum of Art


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Fotografia por Man Ray (Cadaqués, 1968)

“All this twaddle, the existence of God, atheism, determinism, liberation, societies, death, etc., are pieces of a chess game called language, and they are amusing only if one does not preoccupy oneself with winning or losing this game of chess.”

Marcel Duchamp