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Classification: Painting

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Image of The Chess Players

Crawford Gillis
American, 1914–2000

The Chess Players

about 1958–1959

Object Type: Painting
Dimensions:
24 1/8 in. x 28 1/8 in. (61.28 cm x 71.44 cm)
Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Accession Number: 1997.0002.0002

Credit Line: Bequest of Charles E. Shannon

Currently On View


Gillis painted Chess Players, the work in the MMFA collection, during the period when he was most heavily influenced by Cubist art, particularly the painter Jacques Villon. Though his work never entirely departs from a realist style, many of his paintings from the 1940s and 1950s are noticeably Cubist in appearance. In a letter, Gillis described the history and subject of the painting: "The painting was done on canvas of my own manufacture, using the best available imported Belgian linen, rabbitskin glue, and white lead, in the tradition of the time-tested, old master formulae. The subjects were two chess-playing friends of mine, and [it] is a composite-synthesis of many sketches made over a period of months."

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