Eye On Design: Chess Set By Man Ray

chess set by man ray photo by gail worley
Photos By Gail

Man Ray enjoyed chess, relishing that the game, by design, requires both strategy and spontaneity to play. Though Man Ray remained “a third-rate player,” as he put it, his interest in the game “was directed towards designing new forms for chess pieces.” Manufactured in 1926 and based on his design for an earlier turned-wood set, the artist’s Chess Set (made from silver-plated and oxidized silver-plated brass) converts the familiar form of every chess piece into a more stylized shape that relies on associations — such as the connection between a king and an Egyptian pyramid — to reveal each piece’s identity. The sets tallest piece measures 4-inches high.

Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

chess set by man ray photo by gail worley

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