22 January 2017

Which Is the Original?

'Hmm, that looks familiar', I thought when I saw the painting below. It was one of very few items that popped up for this current edition of Top eBay Chess Items by Price. Titled '19thC The Chess Game, Antique O/C Genre Oil Painting, Original Frame, NR', it sold for US $1525 after 59 bids from 23 bidders. But where had I seen it before?

The description started,

If you recognize this painting from a previous listing, you are correct. We sold it and when it was pulled to be shipped, it was accidentally damaged by us. We had two small tears professionally in-painted and have re-listed this auction once again with no reserve!

The previous eBay listing was in November 2016, when the same item sold for US $360 after 38 bids from 17 bidders. The description for both listings said,

Hand painted on stretched canvas, this original 19th century oil painting measures 14” by 17”. It depicts two gentlemen playing a game of chess. The man on the left has a smug look on his face and the man on the right knows he is about to lose the game. The style of the table and the large pewter covered pitcher suggests that this unsigned painting is German. In our black-light photographs you can see two small in-painted restorations to one of the man's hands and under the table. This circa 1880s oil painting comes in its original 17 ½” by 20 ½” painted frame, which has some edge wear.

The 'Top eBay Chess Items' post covering that period was Chess Sculpture at Auction (November 2016; 'sold for US $10.000 after five bids at live auction'), and I'm sure I didn't look at items in the $360 range. Where had I seen the painting before?

After a little searching, I found nearly the same painting in an earlier 'Top eBay Chess Items' post, Who's Really Winning? (March 2012; 'finally selling for US $742'). The frame was different (you'll have to accept my word on that) and there was much more on the wall behind the players, but it was the same composition as the current painting. I like the latest version better.

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