Surreal getting real

This is The King Playing the Queen by Max Ernst, made in 1944 in the US.

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It was shown at the recent Paris exhibition, but I wonder why the curators didn’t present the whole story.

Max Ernst was living in the US at the time, with his wife, Dorothea Tanning, They were a happy couple, as evidenced by this photo – even with their backs against each other:

Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning, photo by Lee Miller, 1947

They were both artists, and they both loved playing chess:

ernstchessnude

He created the wooden set in the picture to reflect symbolic meanings of chess pieces and the game, overall. It was a long process, with a lot of drawings, and clay models he was perfecting along the way.

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His wooden pieces were later made in glass.

A chess player, who is accustomed to watching the board from above, may find extra enjoyment in studying it from different angles. Professional chess players often talk of a very special type of beauty that the game seems to possess. Well, even to my amateurish eye, there’s lots of beauty, danger, threat, and excitement in these arrangements:

Max Ernst gave the name “Immortal” to his chess masterpiece. This is a very rare case of something surreal becoming very much a real part of this world.

I wonder why it has never been mass-produced.

Chess itself can be a very versatile artistic medium.

Even an ordinary set of pieces can bring to life the most complicated and even abstract concepts:

Or, AMBITION:

Imagine how far an artistic mind could go with Max Ernst’s chess set!

If you want to read the whole surrealism series, click on the surreal tag at the bottom.

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14 thoughts on “Surreal getting real

    1. artmoscow Post author

      Thank you for the link. I can’t recognise the brand that I historically considered as a teenage brand that my sons seemed to like… I’ve spent too much time in marketing to appreciate commercial videos though. Too much cynicism in me now ))

      Reply

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