03 November 2011

Chess Art? Amen!

In the previous edition of Top eBay Chess Items by Price, I featured a Barleycorn Chess Set and mentioned,

The set received 41 bids from 15 bidders, and the winning bid was GBP 2527.00 ('approximately US $4000.49' according to eBay). In the year and a half that I've been tracking Top eBay Chess Items by Price, I don't recall another chess set selling for so much.

By some sort of a blogger's application of Murphy's Law, along the lines of 'An unequivocal statement in writing is always proven wrong', I could have featured a 'Pulpit set' in this post. The very attractive set ('could have been made by a French prisoner of war') received 15 bids from six bidders and sold for GBP 6,100.00 (approximately US $9,742.92). That's more than double the barleycorn set. Featuring the pulpit set would have meant three chess sets in a row -- the first was Tweezer Chess -- so I chose instead an item from my favorite category, chess art.

The painting shown below, titled 'Original Irving Amen Large Oil on Canvas Pensive Girl', sold for US $1697. The auction didn't have any bidding information, so I guess it went to the best offer.

The description said,

Title: Next Move (untitled on canvass) • Date: 1970s • Medium: oil on canvas • Dimension: image (76 x 101 cm or 30 x 40 inch), frame (84 x 109 cm or 33 x 43 inch) • Credit: Irving Amen (original artist) • Special Attributes: artist signed (bottom right corner)

This original painting was done by Irving Amen (1917 ---, an influential and well-respected American artist and printmaker) around 1970s. Amen was particularly known for his distinctive artworks via woodcut, etching, lithograph, and many other media depicting various human subjects/activities in the 40s - 70s. Very prolific and active even in the late 1990s, his artworks are widely collected by individuals and institutions in the United States.

Popular Amen subjects are girl or young woman in pensive mood, music activities, and chess scenes. Highly decorative yet sensitively treated, the current painting had combined all these elements together and depicted a young woman contemplating her next move (in chess or life) with a balalaika or a book as her opponent (she might have made a wrong move as she was touching the pawn, hence, forgoing the opportunity of a draw, though the board and chessmen depicted were irregular as usual). A rare and original Amen item indeed.

For more of Amen, see Google Images chess Irving Amen.

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