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Max Ernst and His Chess Set at the Chess Exhibition, "The Imagery of Chess"

A work made of gelatin silver print.

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  • A work made of gelatin silver print.




Artist unknown
active mid-20th century

About this artwork

In the summer of 1944, gallery owner Julien Levy, his wife Muriel, and the artist couple Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning rented a house together in Great River, Long Island. While there, they played a prodigious amount of chess. Levy and Ernst, later joined by artist Marcel Duchamp, conceived of an exhibition on the game, and “The Imagery of Chess” opened at Levy’s gallery in December 1944. In this press photograph, Ernst poses with his now–famous wood chess set, shown here in stained boxwood, one of three he made specifically for Levy’s exhibition.


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Photography and Media




Max Ernst and His Chess Set at the Chess Exhibition, "The Imagery of Chess"


Unknown Place (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1945


Gelatin silver print


Unmarked recto; inscribed verso, upper left, in graphite: [illegible]; verso, upper center, along upper edge, in black and blue ink: "45. [black ink/written over illegible symbol in blue ink] Max Ernst and his chess set. / at the class exhibition, "THE IMAGERY / OF CHESS." 1942 (see app[?]) [blue ink]" stamped verso, center, in black ink: "INTERNATIONAL / NEWS PHOTOS [in eagle's chest] / BY-LINE FEATURES / FROM [below eagle] / INTERNATIONAL NEWS PHOTOS / A UNIT OF KING FEATURES SYND., INC. [in paper scroll] / 235 EAST 45TH STREET, NEW YORK, N. Y. / SYNDICATING PROHIBITED / THIS PHOTOGRAPH IS NOT SOLD BUT A LICENSE / IS GRANTED FOR ITS PUBLICATION AS A NEWS / PHOTOGRAPH ONLY. IT MUST NOT BE LOANED OR SOLD / WITHOUT OUR CONSENT AND MUST BE RETURNED AT OUR / REQUEST. IT CAN BE USED FOR ADVERTISING PURPOSES OR / FOR PURPOSES OF TRADE ONLY IF YOU FIRST SECURE THE / WRITTEN PERMISSION OF THE INDIVIDUALS APPEARING IN IT"; verso, lower center, in black ink: "NOT FOR PUBLICATION. FOR FILE USE ONLY."


23.7 × 18.9 cm (9 3/8 × 7 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Patricia and Frank Kolodny in memory of Julien Levy

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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