23 November 2017

Sotheby's Chess

Start with the recent eBay post A Six-Figure Chess Item at Auction ('the auction was conducted by the well-known Sotheby’s') and apply the technique described in A Collage of Chess Collages. What do you get? Something like the image shown below.

Google image search on 'site:sothebys.com chess'

Using the same referencing scheme described in 'Collages'...

Let's use chess notation to identify the three rows of six images. Calling the rows 'A' to 'C' (from top to bottom) and numbering the images in each row '1' to 'n' (from left to right).

...what can we learn from Sotheby’s images? First of all, about half of the 19 thumbnails show chess sets. Some of them could be mistaken for other household objects, like the photo in the upper left corner ('A1'). Is that a collection of salt and pepper shakers? No, they are chess pieces:-

  • Early Chess Pieces Reveal Origins of the Game (March 2016) • 'An important collection of early chess pieces reveals how the the origins of the game are rooted in India and the Middle East. Each of these remarkable pieces carries huge significance in its evolution, including an extremely rare, early and almost complete 10th-century set.'

How about the lower right corner ('C7') -- is that a chess piece? Yes, indeed, and quite a valuable piece:-

  • Danish or North German, circa 1400 (July 2015) • 'This unusual marine ivory chess piece represents a knight in armour riding a monster, flanked by a court jester and a foot soldier. [Sold. 173.000 GBP (266.489 USD)]'

Smack dab in the middle of the collage ('B4') is another chess Knight, and a modern one:-

  • Marcel Duchamp, Chess Knight (October 2017) • 'This work is a study for the Knight in Duchamp’s Pocket Chess Set assembled in an edition of approximately 150 sets in 1943. [Sold. 72.500 EUR (85.319 USD)]'

The image of the Knight shown in the Google thumbnail is not shown on the Sotheby’s auction page. There it says only 'Image under artist copyright'. So where did Google image search find the image it displayed?

By coincidence, the Duchamp auction brings us full circle to the Pocket Chess Set described in 'A Six-Figure Chess Item'. What other caissart treasures are exposed by this image search?

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