Chess Table

A work made of ebonized plywood, aluminum, and lucite.
© 2018 The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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  • A work made of ebonized plywood, aluminum, and lucite.

Date:

designed 1944; made c. 1949

Artist:

Isamu Noguchi
American, 1904–1988
Made by Herman Miller Furniture Co.
Zeeland, Michigan, founded 1905
(note: Herman Miller Furniture Co. became Herman Miller Inc. in 1960)

About this artwork

This elegant Chess Table epitomizes Isamu Noguchi’s synthesis of Eastern and Western influences. The artist relied on a Surrealist vocabulary for his design, combining the soft, organic shape of the tabletop and undulating underside with a more solid, irregular base. He also looked to the gestural profiles of calligraphy—which he had studied in China in the 1930s—and to Japanese joinery techniques, which he utilized for the base’s interlocking legs. Descriptions of the table as practical for tea inspired the Herman Miller Furniture Company to begin production of the design, and the company’s 1949 catalog touted it as “ideal as a small coffee table.”

Currently Off View

American Art

Artist

Isamu Noguchi

Title

Chess Table

Origin

United States

Date

1944–1954

Medium

Ebonized plywood, aluminum, and Lucite

Dimensions

52.7 × 63.5 × 63.5 cm (20 3/4 × 25 × 25 in.)

Credit Line

Through prior bequest of Arthur Rubloff; restricted gift of the Antiquarian Society; Quinn E. Delaney Fund

Reference Number

2010.227

Copyright

© 2018 The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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