Lot #R140. Marcel Duchamp Reproduction Chess Pieces


French sculptor, painter, and chess player Marcel Duchamp Reproduction Cubist Chess Pieces in solid cast Whie and Chocolate Brown resin. The King stands 4″ by 1-3/4″, Radical Knight Design. Pieces have baize base pads. unweighted. As new. Circa 2008



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Marcel Duchamp Reproduction Chess Pieces

Marcel Duchamp Reproduction Chess Pieces

Offered here is a set of the controversial Marcel Duchamp chess Pieces. In 1918 Artist, sculptor and chess enthusiast Marcel Duchamp designed and hand-carved a chess set in Buenos Aires. Offered here is a reproduction of that radical design. Created from solid white and chocolate-brown resin, the King stands 4-0” tall with a 1-3/4” flared base. These solid pieces are unweighted, but each rests atop a baize base pad. Duchamp’s chess set is an elegant and modern tribute to one of the greatest artists in history. Of particular interest is the elaborate presentation of the Knight. Duchamp gave up art around 1919 and devoted the remainder of his career to chess.

Marcel Duchamp had created two chess sets in his life, this set, and a pocket chess set. His 1943 Pocket Chess Set was released as a limited edition. His radical 1918 chess et, which clearly has owed some of its DNA to the classical Staunton chessmen, is owned by a private collector and remains unseen by the public. The pieces are in excellent condition and display best on a frameless chessboard with 2-3/8” or 2-1/2” squares. No chessboard is included with this purchase, but a suitable board can be found here.


Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp is a famous French sculptor, painter, and chess player who, along with Pablo Picaso and Henri Matisse, was also one of great artists who helped establish the revolutionary growth of plastic arts at the turn of the twentieth century.

Born on July 28th, 1887, in Blainville, France, Henri-Robert-Marcel Duchamp. He was a French painter, sculptor, chess player, and writer whose work is associated with Cubism, Dada, and conceptual art. He came from a family of artists and chess players. He had 4 brothers and 2 sisters. He is commonly regarded, along with Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, as one of the three artists who helped to define the revolutionary developments in the plastic arts in the opening decades of the 20th century, responsible for significant developments in painting and sculpture. He has had an immense impact on 20th- and 21st-century art, and a seminal influence on the development of conceptual art. By the time of World War I, he had rejected the work of many of his fellow artists as “retinal”, intended only to please the eye. Instead, he wanted to use art to serve the mind.

In 1905, Marcel was studying art at the Acadamie Julien in Paris. He failed the entrance exams to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, then worked as a cartoonist.

Duchamp’s official last painting was made in 1918. In December 1918, he moved to Buenos Aires to avoid being drafted in military service in the United States, even though in 1914 he was rejected for military service as unfit. While in Buenos Aires, He spent most of the time playing chess, joined a local chess club, and took chess lessons from a local master. He remained in Argentina for 9 months.

In 1919, he wrote, “My attention is so completely absorbed by chess. I play day and night, and nothing interests me more than finding the right move…. I like painting less and less.” In 1920, he moved to New York and joined the Marshall Chess Club which was then located above the Pepper Pot Restaurant on 8th Street in Greenwich Village. He played there every evening. In 1924, Duchamp appeared in a scene from Rene Clair’s short film, Entr’acte. He is seen setting on the edge of a roof playing chess with Man Ray.

Duchamp passed away on October 2nd, 1968, in Neuilly-sur-Siene, France.



Additional information

Weight6 lbs
Dimensions12 × 12 × 7 in

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