Lot 106
  • 106

Marcel Duchamp

30,000 - 40,000 EUR
72,500 EUR
bidding is closed


  • Marcel Duchamp
  • Chess Knight
  • indistinctly signed Marcel, inscribed New York-Paris Chère Maria and dated Aout 50 (on the lower part of the glass)
  • painted cut-out, mounted between two sheets of glass
  • glass: 17 x 9 cm; 6 5/8 x 3 1/2 in; cut-out: 6 x 3.2 cm; 2 3/4 x 1 1/4 in.


Maria Martins (a gift of the artist in 1950)
Private collection (by descent and sold: Sotheby's, New York, February 21, 2002, lot 105)
Acquired at the above sale by Dr. Arthur Brandt


Boone, Turchin Center for the Arts, The Omnipotent Dream: Man Ray, Confluences and Influences, 2003, illustrated in the catalogue p. 28, listed p. 34
Ithaca, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, A Private Eye: Dada, Surrealism, and More from the Brandt Collection, 2006, illustrated in the catalogue p. 33
London, Tate Modern; Barcelona, Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Duchamp, Man Ray, Picabia, 2008, fig. 189, illustrated p. 142
New York, Blain, Di Donna, Dada & Surrealist Objects, 2013, illustrated in the catalogue pl. 92

Catalogue Note

Like Man Ray, the game of chess was compelling to Duchamp who was an extremely good player. It was one of the essential components to his art, a game based upon skill and strategy, filled with spatial organisation and a set of inspirational contradictions, permitting occasional demonstrations of genius. Duchamp created several chess set designs and associated himself with the Knight, perhaps because its erratic movement on the chessboard mirrored his peripatetic lifestyle, and possibly alluding to his own controversial contribution to Modern Art. He gifted the present work to his companion and muse, the Brazilian sculptor Maria Martins (1894-1973).