Duchamp's Pipe: A Chess Romance--Marcel Duchamp and George Koltanowski

Duchamp's Pipe: A Chess Romance--Marcel Duchamp and George Koltanowski

by Celia Rabinovitch


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Art, chess, and an $87,000 pipe frame an inside look at the relationship between Dadaist artist Marcel Duchamp and chess Grandmaster George Koltanowski

Spanning three decades, two continents, two world wars, and the international art and chess scenes of the mid twentieth century, Duchamp's Pipe explores the remarkable friendship between art world enfant terrible Marcel Duchamp and blindfold chess champion George Koltanowski. Artist and cultural historian Celia Rabinovitch describes each man's rise to prominence, the chess matches that sparked their relationship, and the recently discovered pipe that Duchamp gave to Koltanowski. This tale of genius and resilience offers fresh insights into the essence of the gift in the bohemian underground. Rabinovitch invites us to discover the chess wizard and a Duchamp slightly off pedestal—and ultimately more human.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781623173562
Publisher: North Atlantic Books
Publication date: 02/25/2020
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.03(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.69(d)

About the Author

CELIA RABINOVITCH, an artist, writer, and scholar, weaves the artist's experience into a nuanced understanding of modern art, history, cultural anthropology, and comparative mythology. Her previous book, Surrealism and the Sacred: Power, Eros, and the Occult in Modern Art, uncovers the struggle between sacred and secular forces in art from prehistory to Surrealism. Her other publications explore connections among art, history, and spiritual experience. Her luminous paintings have been shown in Canada, Europe, and the US. Educated at McGill University (PhD, religions) and the University of Wisconsin (MFA, painting), Rabinovitch directed the Extension programs in fine arts and design at UC Berkeley and served as director of the School of Art, University of Manitoba, Canada. She has taught at the University of Colorado, California College of the Arts, the San Francisco Art Institute, and Stanford University, and as invited speaker at Cornell University, the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, and University of the Arts, Philadelphia, and has been an artist in residence at Syracuse University and the University of Victoria, British Columbia. Duchamp's Pipe is her second book.

Table of Contents

Illustrations xiii

Les Personnages xxiii

Foreword: Marcel Duchamp-Chess Game and Endgame Ihor Holubizky xxxi

George Koltanowski-A California Chess Legend Kerry Hamilton Lawless xxxix

Part I A Smoking Pipe

1 The Gift 3

2 A Fairy Tale for Grown-Ups 11

3 Duchamp and Brâncusi-The Pure Pipe 15

Part II A Chess Romance

4 The Players at the Art of Chess 25

5 Chess Painting, Chess Playing 29

6 Transatlantic Chess from Paris to New York 41

7 Diamonds and Chess 49

8 Duchamp and Koltanowski Meet-Le Cygne 53

9 Koltanowski Rising and the Creation of the World Chess Federation, 1924 55

10 Epiphanies in Chess and Art 59

11 The Match of 1929 65

Part III A Beautiful Game

12 A Beautiful Game 71

13 Translucent Passages-Reading Between the Lines 75

14 Touring Chess under Fascism's Threat 83

15 Escaping France 87

16 Ethnological Excursions-Into a Dark Mood 91

17 Pocketing Chess-Chess for All 103

18 The Imagery of Chess, 1944-1945 107

19 Perhaps the Pipe, Even 121

Part IV Objects and the Spirits Who Made Them

20 Rituals of Smoking and Breathing 129

21 The Form of Things Hidden-The Inframince 137

22 Another Romance 149

23 The Excess of Imagination 155

24 An Amiable Conjurer 165

25 Endgame-A Little Smoke Was Seen 175

26 The Exchange Redeemed 179

Epilogue 183

Afterword: Coffee House Chess Irwin Lipnowski 185

Memories of George Koltanowski Nikki Lastreto 193

Chronology 197

Acknowledgments 215

Notes 219

Bibliography 255

Permissions 273

Index 275

About the Contributors 289

About the Author 291

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