I was surfing the net when suddenly I opened a page with a picture of a wonderful chess set, not that I’m a player but was fascinated by the astonishing design of each piece, and decided to take a deeper look. I was surprised to discover how many vintage and design sets have been created by names such as Man Ray, Hartwig…take a look at these few pictures below.

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This set was designed by Josef Hartwig in 1923 for the Weimar Bauhaus, instead of the usual pawns he used the shapes of that time: cubes, spheres, cylinders. Today is it produced by Naef, the historical swiss toys company. You can buy it on this website (nice gift idea): 

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Picture above shows the silver-plated chess set designed by Man Ray in 1926, commissioned by the Maharajah of Indore. At that time only three copies were produced, until 1940 when Man Ray reproduced it in a smaller size, each paws weighting  240 ounces. The new chess set was entirely in sterling silver made by Cimini, a notable silversmith  at that time.

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The above set was designed by Austin E. Cox in 1963 for the Austin Enterprises. Paws measure 3.75-ins, kings and Queens 4.75-ins. They were made in natural aluminium for the whites pieces and in black anodized for the blacks. The original chess set has stamped at the base of each paws “1962 Austin Enterprises”.

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The above chess set was designed by Arthur Elliot for Arni in 1950. It is called Space Age Chess set and entirely made in in solid wood.

reykjavik art museum

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This picture shows the chess game created in 2003 by Damien Hirst, “Mental Escapology”.It represents the artist idea of the world’s obsession for mortality. All pieces are made of glass and silver in the shape of medicine bottles. The set comes with a surgical trolley that serves as the board in stainless steel, and mirrored glass, plus two dentist chairs in white leather.

chess set by maurizio cattelan

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The above chess set designed by Maurizio Cattelan, represents Good versus Evil, and shows figures he admired or despises such as Hitler, Martin Luther King, Rasputin, Madre Teresa,and  Donatella Versace. Made of porcelain.

There are so many chess set designed by famous artists, it would be nice to hear from you which ones are your favorite and why.


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