Pablo Picasso Spanish

Not on view

The pyramid that dominates the composition delineates the edge of a draped curtain, which is pulled back with an oversize tassel at right to reveal a round table with a cord-fringe tablecloth and coffee cup in the foreground. Thanks to the title, recorded by dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, the viewer is encouraged to find elements related to chess in an otherwise difficult-to-discern mix of marks and facets. The two most obvious pieces are the knight—the bright white oval with a horse’s curved head and shoulder at upper left—and the orb-topped, crenellated rook at center. The light and dark angular shapes at upper center may even allude to the contrasting squares—or in this case, cubes—of a chessboard.

Chess, Pablo Picasso (Spanish, Malaga 1881–1973 Mougins, France), Oil on canvas

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