08 May 2016

Chess Builders

You might expect this fortnightly Sunday series on Top eBay Chess Items by Price to fall on Mother's Day once every two years. You might also expect that it's not always easy to locate a suitable gift for Mom, as in Capablanca Letters++ (May 2014).

On my short list this year I had the choice between two chess sets: '1984 $4500 Igor Carl Faberge Chess Sterling Silver Rubies Emeralds' (US $1995.95) and 'Giant Plastic Chess Set with a 37" King' (US $789.00). The first set was damaged and the second set...well...I just couldn't picture Mom playing chess outside in her garden. That left me with the item shown below.

Titled 'Jacob Lawrence (American, 1917-2000) "Two Builders Playing Chess"', the print sold at live auction for US $2800 after five bids. The previous 'Top eBay Items' featuring a live auction was The Kitten Theme (January 2016).

The description mentioned, 'Seller's Estimate: USD 3000 - 5000', and added,

1996, soft ground/aquatint etching, from an edition of 65, signed, numbered and dated. Size: 32 x 44 cm (sight); 53 x 67 cm (frame).

The artist's Wikipedia page, Jacob Lawrence informs,

An African-American painter known for his portrayal of African-American life. Lawrence referred to his style as "dynamic cubism," though by his own account the primary influence was not so much French art as the shapes and colors of Harlem. Among the best-known 20th-century African-American painters, he was 23 years old when he gained national recognition with his 60-panel Migration Series, painted on cardboard.

In the same live auction, four other 'Builders' prints by Lawrence also sold for four figures. Another page on the artist, Jacob Lawrence - DC Moore Gallery, explains,

Thematically, he concentrated on the topic of Builders. Within the wide field of development offered by the Builders subject, Lawrence underscored a life-long vision of man’s labor and struggle as his major theme.

While this isn't the sort of gift I would normally give Mom, I'm sure she would like it.

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