12 August 2010

Vasa Lucite Acrylic Sculpture

In my fortnightly(*) look at Top eBay Chess Items by Price, chess sets are always near the top of the list. I used one a couple of posts ago in Chess Sets, 'Never Been Used', and now I'll use another. I admit that I chose it because of its colors.

Many other people apparently like the set's look, because it received 15 bids and sold for US $551. The item's title was '60s LUCITE Sculpture Optic POP CHESS SET Vasa PANTON; 60s 70s POP ART BLUE ORANGE Side MULTI Color ACRYLIC', and the description said,

Here we have an amazing chess set. We do not know who made this set as it is unsigned but it is in VASA style. Each piece is hand sculpted and is not exact, close. The colors change from every angle and is just a beautiful set all you need add is a board. The Pawns are 1 1/2 inches tall and the King and Queen are 2 3/4 inches tall. All are in very nice to excellent condition with one Bishop that has some slight air bubbling on the interior. Clear and wonderful.

What's the Vasa style? I'm not really sure, but the keywords 'lucite', 'acrylic', and 'sculpture' are often associated with it, like in the item's title. The most examples I could find on a single page were here: 1stdibs Furniture Search: Vasa pieces for sale. I couldn't find any other chess sets, perhaps explaining why the eBay item sold for over $500. What kind of board goes with that?


(*) I originally wrote 'biweekly', then checked to make sure I used the right word. It turns out that 'biweekly' can mean both

  • 1 : occurring twice a week, and
  • 2 : occurring every two weeks

Language can be so illogical.


Unknown said...

I really doubt that this is Vasa Panton. I have an identical set, including the original lucite board, which has an importer's sticker on it. Still a wonderful set though. They did a great job with the pics too, spectacular even. Most I've found on these sets is they may have been sold in a museum shop near Wash DC. Once I get motivated I'll take a pic of the board at least, but it won't be a good loo0king as the pics you saw.

Mark Weeks said...

Received this email...

[Start of message]

Subject: Vasa Panton chess set
Date: Thursday, August 12, 2010, 10:30 PM

To answer your question on the "Vasa Panton" set, the board does not have colors. It’s a sheet of clear bent down at two sides, each bent down section having the center cut away to essential provide 4 legs. The squares are white or clear, "painted" on from underneath with what looks like flat white "wite-out," but is obviously not.

While the pieces certainly do "pop" in directed light, like in the photographs, they are not as absolutely handsome as you think, just picking one up and looking at it this way and that.

[End of message]

...Thanks for the info!

Unknown said...

I hope you bought that chess set.

It’s not made by VASA. I have a similar one given as a gift back in the 70's. My favorite set, I have yet to be inspired to buy any other set still today.

It's made by an artist and furniture designer with works in the Smithsonian Institution for his pioneering use of acrylic and Lucite.

I appreciated it throughout the years as a work of art. I never knew who made it until recently.

To my delight, it was made by Charles Hollis Jones. Current auction price: $2,500!

Anonymous said...

I had one of these sets also, loved it, and it got lost in a move some years ago (sadness - still have the board though!) My pieces were like this and not like the Charles Hollis Jones sets I've seen online (the tops of various pieces are more rounded, and don't have indentations. This set is what I had.) Note though, my board didn't have the rounded edges, and was/is also lucite. Still my favorite set, though alas, I can now only see it in memory.

Thanks for posting this!