10 September 2017

Man Ray Chess Photos

For this edition of Top eBay Chess Items by Price, I had one of the shortest lists ever of interesting items sold on eBay since the last post. Was it because of the hurricanes -- Harvey, Irma, Jose and Katia? Or because of the back-to-school season? Or because of something else?

Whatever it was, the short list had only a single item and I had to go well under my usual cutoff price to find it. The item pictured below was titled '1920's ACME Photo Series (2) Artist Man Ray with His Beautiful Chess Set', and sold for US $299.99 after a single bid.

The item's description was unusually brief:-

Both photos measure 8 1/2" x 6 1/2". They are both in great condition. I hate to let go of these. They are amazing!

Fortunately, there was identical publicity info on the back of both photos. Signed 'Acme Newspictures, 461 Eighth Ave., New York City', and dated 10 March 1927, it said,

THE LAST WORD IN CHESSMEN -- AND THEY COME FROM PARIS • PARIS, France - PHOTO SHOWS: Man Ray, well known American, artist, photographer and sculptor with his set of modern chessmen, exhibited in the Paris Art Galleries. Simplicity is the keynote of this, his latest ovation, each piece being symbolic of its function and meaning in chess. The pieces are wrought in silver, the dark set being oxidized. The transition of chessmen from the earliest pieces of long ago has been gradual. Here we have the final design reached today, with the influence of modern art tending toward simplicity, yet retaining the tradition of that ancient game. • YOUR CREDIT LINE MUST READ (ACME)

The item reminded me of another post from a couple of years ago, Man Ray Chess Set (September 2015), where I signed off with,

While researching the item, I discovered that there were several styles for 'Man Ray chess set'. Exactly how many would make a starting point for another post.

Some time later I noticed Wot a Lot (lostontime.blogspot.com; November 2016; 'Oh no! Another Man Ray chess set.'), which points to Manny (chess.com; May 2015; 'Certain artists or writers are, in fact, known for the inclusion of chess in their works. Man Ray was one of those people.') by batgirl. That last post includes photos of several Man Ray chess sets, where one photo is similar to the eBay auction featured here.

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