First edition of the artist's little-known chess monograph on a rare end-game position, with a cover design by the artist and sly Duchampian touches.
"A chess game is very plastic. You construct it. One creates beautiful problems and that beauty is made with the head and hands." — Duchamp, in an interview with Truman Capote
Written with Russian chess player Vitaly Halberstadt, the evocatively titled L'OPPOSITION ET LES CASES CONJUGUÉES SONT RÉCONCILIÉES ("Opposition and Sister Squares Are Reconciled") was Duchamp's book-length study of the obscure Lasker-Reichhelm position. By the time of this book's publication, Duchamp had long since left the art world behind to pursue chess full time. But even before this, the game's influence on the artist was evident in works like "The Chess Game" (1910), "Portrait of Chess Players" (1911), and "King and Queen Surrounded by Swift Nudes" (1912). Duchamp would later write about the connections for him between chess and art: "I have come to the conclusion that while all artists are not chess players, all chess players are artists."
While ostensibly a serious work of strategy, in both its overall look and in particular its typography, L'OPPOSITION shows the clear influence of European avant garde book design, and so clearly harkens to Duchamp's artistic milieu. As writer Ernst Strouhal has said: "[L'OPPOSITION] can be understood as both an artist's book for chess players, and a chess book for artists."
Read more: Francis M. Naumann, Bradley Bailey, and Jennifer Shahade, Marcel Duchamp: The Art of Chess.
Paris: L'Échiquier, (1932). 11" x 9.5". Original printed wraps. Text in French, German, and English. Errata slip laid in. Contemporary owner signature to front cover. Moderate soil to wraps. Mildly thumbed. Else clean and sound throughout.
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