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Artist and chessmaster Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) invited Catalonian born Surrealist Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) to design a chess set edition that could be sold to raise funds for the American Chess Federation.To publicize Dalí's design, Duchamp organized a 1966 benefit exhibition, Homage à Caissa, for which 36 of Duchamp's artist friends donated artwork for sale. An edition of the chess set in bronze was issued in 1971 and this deluxe edition in silver and gilt followed.

Dalí made his original chess pieces from plaster casts of his fingers, which were then to be recast in silver. The King and Queen were the thumbs of the artist and his wife, each crowned with one of their actual molars. The pawns were the first joint of Dalí's thumb; the Knight, the rest of the thumb; and the Rooks were cast from salt and pepper shakers from the dining room of the St. Regis Hotel in New York where Dalí kept a suite.

Details

  • Title: Jeu d'eches / Fingers
  • Creator: Salvador Dalí
  • Date Created: 1964
  • Location Created: Spain, United States of America
  • Physical Dimensions: Board:12 x 12 x ¾ in., King Size: 3 ¾ in.
  • Provenance: Collection of Dr. George and Vivian Dean
  • Type: Sterling silver, gold-plated silver, marble and marbleized resin
  • Rights: ©Dean Collection, Richard Beenen Photography

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