Max Ernst, Jeu d'échecs, c.1944, bois, résine et céramique, 32 pièces

Chess set

32 pieces. Some pieces have signs. This chess set belonged to Madame Germaine Duhamel who gave it to Catherine Prévert (1944-2017), daughter of Gisèle and Pierre Prévert and niece of Jacques Prévert, when she married Daniel Vogel.

Max Ernst (1891-1976)

A German painter and sculptor, major artist of Dadaism and Surrealism, Max Ernst was fascinated by chess sets. He was a great player, sharing his passion with his wife Dorothea Tanning and friend Marcel Duchamp. But beyond the game’s intelligence, this fascination extended even more to the magical symbolism of each piece and the graphic games resulting from their moves. He saw living sculpture in a game of chess, where the shapes of each piece face each other in a metaphysical dance. As such, before he was even passionate about sculpture, the first pieces he made with volume in 1929 were models with surrealist style, chessboard pieces some of which were reproduced in bronze. It was in 1944 that his research into the symbolism of chess pieces took on a new dimension with extreme perfection. Each piece was subject to dozens of studies in clay. Finally, he finished his research by the creation of a full set with stunning quality, made in wood.
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