More on Chessic Surrealists

Apr 20, 2011, 4:56 PM |


Several years ago, I tried to trace the connection between chess and art through the very chess-inspired original Surrealist and Dada artists of the 20th century.  These artists inlcuded the very well known, such as MarcelDuchamp, Man Ray and Max Ernst to those not generally so familiar with the general public.  The framework of my presentation was an art show by the Levy Gallery in 1944-5 called the Imagery of Chess. In this presentation, I tried to offer something about each contributor's life, work, their likeness and show contributiuon.  For some of these artist, I had an overwhelming about of information that required culling and pruning; for others I could find very little.  Fortunately, over the years, more of the unknown has become more readily available and I've managed to collate some of this.

This presentation will offer something more about these lesser known contributors to Imagery of Chess show (particularly since each of their specific contributions to the show is now unknown). I'll provide a link to my original page on that artist.

The Imagery of Chess


Mary Callery
     LIFE Nov. 19, 1952

Mary Callery sculpting a bust of her friend, Georgia O'Keeffe at Ghost Ranch, 1945


Peter Blume

     LIFE April 11, 1949
Highlighting sections of his massive 29 square feet painting, The Rock, which took 7 years to complete.

Blume's South of Scranton:
















Ossip Zadkine

     LIFE December 12, 1949

He had been married to artist Valentine Prax for 9 years until her death in 1928.

see also the Zadkine Foundation



Antonin Heythum


L-R front: Carlotta Heythum, Juliet Browner, Antonin Heythum, Jean Harris
L-R back: Man Ray, Harwell Hamilton

Czech stage and costume designer Antonin Heythum's contribution to the show is also unknown.

Here, however is an example of his work in Doña Sancha for the Czech Theater:

and for Cirkus Dankin in 1925:

Below is a preliminary drawing by Antonin Heythum for the set of the world's premier of  E. F. Burian's Mannequin's Ball in Prague on Sept. 21, 1933 [the second production wwas cancelled under threats of censorship]:

Frederick Keisler

Keisler was primarily an avant-guard architect.  Many of his concepts, most strikingly his "endless house," were never actually constructed. Below is a model of that idea:

Keisler with his endless house in 1959

One of his concepts that was actually constucted in the famous Shrine of the Book, a wing of the Isreal Museum in Jerusalem, which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls and other ancient manuscripts:

exterior of the Shrine of the Book - 1959-65
interior of the Shrine of the Book - 1959-65