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June 2019

Dear Member of the CH&LS,

Please appreciate the announcement of the 76th auction at Klittich-Pfankuch auction house:

Antiquariat A. Klittich-Pfankuch GmbH & Co.

the fully illustrated catalogue of the 76th auction on the 20th and 22nd June 2019 is published in the internet.

https://www.klittich-pfankuch.de/auktion.htm

The auction of chess ephemeria, chess sets, autographs and books will be on Saturday 22nd June 2019.

Last opportunity for a preview is Friday 21st June 2019.

Kind regards
Yours Karl Klittich / Antiquariat A. Klittich - Pfankuch

On 3rd of June this year new tidings from Sotheby sent out a wave of excitement among chess historians and collectors: A new piece belonging to the Lewis chessmen had surfaced. Estimated price goes up to 1 mill £. Here is a link that contains both images and a film:

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-48494885

In the narrative following the images we are told: «A family spokesman said in a statement: "My grandfather was an antiques dealer based in Edinburgh, and in 1964 he purchased an ivory chessman from another Edinburgh dealer".» This states that none of two Scottish antique dealers in 1964 had any knowledge about the shape of the Lewis chessmen, of which 11 are to be found in the National Museum situated in the same town as they had their business. And the narrative further states: «It was catalogued in his purchase ledger that he had bought (as) an 'Antique Walrus Tusk Warrior Chessman'.» How could the dealer manage to classify it as a warrior chessman without knowledge about the Lewis chessmen? On Scottish soil, the Lewis chessmen are the only chessmen remotely similar to this piece. And why did they travel all the way to Sotheby in London for an evaluation of the figure when they were situated in Edinburgh? In fact – why did they not choose the National Museum of Scotland, which have renown expertise on medieval chessmen? I cannot imagine that two antique dealers in Scotland was unaware of the shape/existence of the Lewis chessmen, and that the whole family remained in the dark for 55 years, especially at a time when Scottish politicians campaigned in order to force the British Museum to give the chessmen to Scotland. These figures were close to front page news in Scotland. In conclusion: There are reasons to question the recent history of the chess figure.

Larry List and Michael Negele at the Max Ernst Museum, November 2014
Larry List and Michael Negele at the Max Ernst Museum, November 2014

Our member and friend Larry List recently sent us some useful information to share with our community.

He provided a catalogue essay for Takako Saito's 90th birthday (She is born in 18 February 1929.) retrospective show now at the Contemporary Art Museum in Bordeaux France. It has 400 works with one whole gallery of chess and games.

To Larry, Takako Saito is the artist who has made the most serious and extended development of chess set designs and chess - related art since Marcel Duchamp. Her chess designs can be whimsical in appearance but they deeply challenge our understanding of what a chess set can be and what are the essential concepts of this "Royal Game."

Michael Negele

More information: