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By presenting nearly 300 of these chessboards chronologically, the author offers a new perspective on the history of art and its evolution. Art Nouveau, Secession, Surrealism, Fluxus, Pop Art, and most of the great movements born and following one another in the Fine Arts find an echo with these chessboards and the 16 pieces that animate them. These chess games also reflect the evolution of techniques and materials used during this period: wood, glass, and ceramics from the 1950s to steel, plastic, and composite materials.
At the border between the plastic arts and the decorative arts, these chessboards are made by big names in the art scene, design or architecture – Alexandre Rodchenko, Jean-Michel Frank, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Alexander Calder, or, more recently, Yoko Ono, Robert Filliou, Yayo Kusama, Victor Vasarely, Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry or Damien Hirst – as by anonymous people. The synthesis offered by the author constitutes a valuable and innovative historian’s work, supported by rich and mostly unpublished iconography.
Text in English and French.