Phildadelphia-born, Brooklyn- raised, Dada-Surrealist artist Man Ray created sets from 1920 till his death in 1976.
Very few of these original sets are still available for purchase and when they are, they command prices at auctions of tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Man Ray is hailed as one of 20th century's most innovative artists. Son of a Russian immigrant tailor, Man Ray's artwork was far ahead of its time so he lived modestly his whole life. His vision was to design a simple straightforward, but modern and affordable chess set.
Man Ray's original design was the first modern set comprised of all abstract geometric forms. The sets found here are copied perfectly by expert craftsmen from both Germany and Italy. These pieces, that will reintroduce you to the game of chess, each have a special association.
the pyramid was the Egyptian symbol of kingship the cone, a medieval queen's headgear
the flagon represented the bishops' tradition of creating exotic liqueurs and spirits
Dadist that he was, he could not resist interjecting at least one discordant, though still elegant, element in the ensemble he based the form of the knight on a found object in his studio, the head scroll of a violin
the pawns are as tall as the rooks and almost as volumetrically robust as many of the other pieces that are higher ranked to show the increased importance of pawns in modern chess play.