26 March 2017

Chess Strategy Woodcut

I'm slowly discovering that the most efficient method of exploring The Sociology of Chess (November 2016) is through related imagery. Last month I had a couple of posts featuring Louis Wolchonok (see Chess in New York Parks for the second post) and this month I'll feature another artist who often used chess as a theme.

'Chess Strategy', Irving Amen (woodcut print)

Wikipedia's Irving Amen informs,

Irving Amen (1918–2011) was a painter, printmaker and sculptor. Born in New York City in 1918, he began drawing at the age of four. A scholarship to the Pratt Institute was awarded to him when he was fourteen years old. With Michelangelo as his idol, he spent seven years in life classes perfecting his drawing. From 1942 to 1945 he served with the Armed Forces. He headed a mural project and executed murals in the United States and Belgium.

His first exhibition in woodcut was held at the New School for Social Research and his second at the Smithsonian Institution in 1949 and also exhibited at the Artists House in Jerusalem, the Library of Congress, and the National Academy of Design. [...] His work often depicts themes of Judaism, chess, people, music, Italy and Don Quixote. In his later years he lived and worked in Boca Raton, Florida.

The image appears to be loaded with symbolism. Is it just my imagination or is the bird in the bottom center in the form of a chess King? And is the bird in the bottom right corner connected to the thinking man in the top right corner? And why call the piece 'Chess Strategy'? For another example of the same artist's use of chess, see Chess Art? Amen! (November 2011).

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