Saturday, November 08, 2008

Chess in Art resources

At the conclusion of our recent Chess in Art series I promised to provide a list of resources that we used (or simply came across) in the course of research and which we hope may be of use to anyone interested in the area now or in the future.

It follows - after some notes and a brief list of thanks to some people who assisted in the preparation of the series. They include Martin Smith, Richard Tillett, Tom Chivers, Chris Manners, James McDonnell, Professor Neil Taylor, Christine at the National Galleries of Scotland, Tanya Kirk of the Rare Books Reference Service at the British Library, Dr. Wolfgang-Valentin Ikas at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich, Fred Lucas, Michael Goeller, The Closet Grandmaster, John Philpott, Alexey Shumay and Kevin Paine. Apologies to anybody who has been omitted: this is an updatable list!

Although the series is not remotely comprehensive and I am very far from being knowledgeable in the field of art, we have tried to be as accurate as possible. Nevertheless we have been unable to provide any dates for the works by Gallegos y Arnosa (I), Oppenheimer (IV), McKee (V) and Boileau (XI), while our dating of the Daumier (XX) is extremely provisional and I have seen a different date for the Bargue (VI) than our 1882. Similarly, we have not been able to give any location, even "private collection", for Foster (VII), Boileau again, one of the works by Klee (XIV) and the Shakespeare/Jonson painting attributed to Van Mander (XVI). Naturally any information or corrections that readers can provide will be very welcome.

We hope we have in some instances slightly improved or clarified the information previously available on the internet, much of which is inadequate and some of which is wrong. We hope we have clarified the dating of the Tenniel (XVIII) and the nature of the Muelich (X) which, it is not normally stated, is the frontispiece to a book. Both the de Tyr (XII) and the Van Mander seem to us best listed as "attributed" and the Delacroix (XV) normally seen on the internet is a truncated version of the actual work. A fuller image (in scope, if not in colour) is here (and immediately below).

In general we have attempted to list the art works under the titles which they would be known in the native language of the artists, though this has not always been possible, for a variety of reasons: partly lack of the relevant linguistic skills, partly because works are not clearly titled (if, indeed, they have any given title).

Exceptions include Bargue, de Man (IX) and van Mander (attr) which, perhaps surprisingly, we haven't yet found in their original languages. The work of the anonymous Iranian artist (VIII) is in French hands and we have therefore given the title in French. Max Ernst (XIII) was German, but we believe the work was originally produced with an English title, so we too have used that language, a principle we have also followed for Lucas (XIX). Shvarts (XVII) comes with varying titles (intriguingly, it's not even clear whether it's singular "Tsar" or plural "Tsars") but we do not know Russian and therefore chose to employ an English title. Finally, the Italian title of the Sorbi (XX) does not translate as The Chess Players, its English title - and as all the works of our final entry shared that title and we didn't want to waste such a splendid picture, we stretched a point.

The Chess in Art Resources Guide

a. Online galleries and catalogues

There are a number of these: please note that like all online resources, they are subject to change in content, title and URL as well as the possibility of deletion.

We have translated some titles into English and left others untranslated.

Brussels Chess Club: Peinture. Gallery. (Best found from home page by clicking on Topics and scrolling to Peinture.)

JM: Art, Voyages, Echécs: Tableaux ayant pour sujet les échecs. Gallery.

Chess Theory: Virtual Art Museum.

Bill Wall: Art and Chess. List of chess artists and artworks. (No images.)

Schachverein Görlitz e. V: Schach in der Kunst.

Scacchi e Collezionismo: Schacchi e Arte. Catalogue and gallery.

Karen Larsdatter, Material Cultures Linkspage for the Middle Ages and Renaissance: Board Games & Gaming Pieces
. Links to information about and images of chess pieces and chess-related artworks from its period.

Società Schacchistica Gallaratese: Chess Arts Summary Table. Gallery and list of artworks, some with links.

New Chessery of Semyon Gubnitskiy - Chess islands - a fellowship of worlds: Chess in the world of painting. Gallery.

Metajedrez: Pintura. Gallery.

La grande storia degli scacchi: Arte figurativa a tema scacchistico. Gallery.

Wikimedia Commons: Chess in Art
. Currently small collection of downloadable images.

I'd also mention a couple of Russian sites which are more selections of paintings than galleries as such, if the distinction makes any sense:

Arin Levindor: Chess and Art 1 and 2. With poetry in Russian.

Orchard Thief: Game of Kings, King of Games.

b. Online essays

These are not all in English and are of varying relevance and length!

Achille della Ragione: Gli scacchi nella pittura dall’antichita ai nostri giorni. Short historical overview in Italian.

Visual Mathematics (Mathematical Institute of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Roberto Giunti: Analysing Chess - Some deepening on the chaos concept by Klee. Long essay on aspects of Klee and especially his piece Chess (Schachbrett in XIV).

Jeffrey A Netto, PhD. English 101, Writing and the World of Painting: Studies. Iconography and the Game of Chess. Essay by professor of English with an interest in chess iconography.

Edward Winter, Chess Notes: Chess and Shakespeare.
Touches on aspects of the "van Mander" painting.

Chessbase, Kiril Penušliski: The Black and White Board in Art. Short discussion of chess in art as taster for The Contemporary Chess Art of Ilija Penušliski, discussing the chess art of leading Macedonian artist (and family member).

Sarah's Chess Journal: Chess, Romance, Love and Sex. Exploration of these themes in art by Sarah Beth Cohen.

Ilona Fekete, Biedermeier and Post-Impressionist Artists in Vienna: Josef Danhauser's "Game of Chess". Video essay on the work by Danhauser (not one in our series).

c. Newspaper articles

New York Times, October 16, 2005: Blake Eskin, The Plaster-Filled Eggshell Gambit. Discusses Julian Levy's 1944 Imagery of Chess exhibition in New York and the 2005 Art of Chess exhibition at the Luhring Augustine Gallery in Chelsea.

New York Times, 26 December, 2003: Grace Glueck, In The Days When Artists Were Taught How To Draw. Discusses Bargue's manual The Art of Drawing and The Chess Players (which is described as "high kitsch").

Guardian, Arts (no date): Galleries, The Art Of Chess index. Guide to the 2003 exhibition The Art Of Chess at the Gilbert Collection in London.

d. Books and journal articles

Art, Echécs et Mat by Yves Marek. (Imprimerie nationale, Paris, 2008.) New French book exploring various aspects of our theme.

Birth of the Chess Queen, a History by Marilyn Yalom
. (Pandora, London, 2004.) Among many other things, discusses Anguissola's Partita a scacchi (X).

Lewis Carroll: a Biography by Morton N. Cohen.(Macmillan, London, 1995.) Dates precisely the publication of Through The Looking-Glass and hence the Tenniel.

The Imagery of Chess Revisited by Larry List (ed)
. (George Braziller, New York, 2005.) Edited by the curator of the 2005 exhibition of the same name at the Noguchi Museum in New York.

The Russian Experiment in Art 1863-22 by Camilla Gray. (Thames and Hudson, London, 1986.) Discusses Shvarts ("Schwartz") as a painter informed in his work by his status as an historian.

Russian Realist Art: The State and Society by Elizabeth K Vallkenier. (Ardis, Ann Arbor, 1977.) A source for Shvarts, referred to in Gray immediately above.

Chess in Art by Colleen Schafroth. (Harry N. Abrams, New York, 2002.) Historical overview.

Master Pieces, The Architecture of Chess by Gareth Williams. (Apple, London, 2000.) Coffee-table book about the design of chess pieces.

Winterthur Portfolio, Vol. 26, No. 4 (Winter, 1991), pp. 267-276: Robert Wilson Torchia, "The Chess Players by Thomas Eakins".

Shakespeare Quarterly, Vol. 34, No. 4 (Winter, 1983), pp. 440-448: Bryan Loughrey and Neil Taylor, "Jonson and Shakespeare at Chess".

e. Exhibitions and catalogues

Press releases and catalogues from exhibitions.

Charles Bargue: The Art of Drawing. Dahesh Museum of Art, New York, 2003/4.

The Imagery of Chess Revisted
. Complete list of items in the 2005 Noguchi exhibition mentioned in d above (which exhibition recalled the 1994 show mentioned in c).

The Art of Chess. 2003 Gilbert Collection exhibition referred to in c. (Note the sponsor!)

The Art of Chess. 2005 Luhring Augustine exhibition referred to in c. (Same name, same city and many of the same artists as the Gilbert Collection exhibition from two years previously - not sure what the Gilbert thought about this.)

f. Sites of interest

Just a couple from which images were selected for the series (XVIII and XIX).

Lenny’s Alice in Wonderland Site.

Studio Fred Lucas.

g. Online art resources

Sites useful for searching for art images: they are also portals to other art-related links and resources.

The Bridgeman Art Library

Ozario Centaro's Art Images on the Web.

Mark Harden's Artchive.

The World Wide Web Virtual Library: History of Art.

h. Snippets

Some bits and pieces to finish! Obviously we could have provided links to information about all the works and artists, but it would have gone on forever: so these are just a handful that we happened to come across when working on the series.

Christie's: Raffaello Sorbi, "The Chess Players". Some information on the artist and the work.

Peter Nahum at the Leicester Galleries: Joseph Clark, "The Chess Players". Some information on the artist and the work (XX)., Art Encyclopedia: Vyacheslav (Grigor'yevich) Shvarts. Some information on the artist.

Wikipedia: Chess in the arts and literature. Described as a "stub" and currently very much so (although one of its contributors may be the host of the gallery in Art, Voyages, Echécs mentioned in a).

As I've said, this is an updatable resource: corrections and additions are very welcome. I hope it is of interest to the casual browser and of use to the serious student. Enjoy.

[Chess in Art index]
[Chess in Art collected]


Martin S. said...

Well done Justin.

That will be a great resource for anyone else interested in the subject.

A fitting end to a memorable series.

ejh said...

I've added today the Beth Cohen online essay mentioned here by Michael Goeller.

ejh said...

I've added today the Danhauser video essay mentioned here by the Closet Grandmaster.

Sarah Cohen said...

Great review of art in chess