Robb Design Portfolio: Check Mate

<< Back to Robb Report, March 2003
  • Randi Danforth

Some mind games—such as chess or backgammon—are eternally entertaining. Chess sets themselves are often treated as works of art. Meissen has produced sets for the past three centuries that intrigue and delight, and a limited-edition reintroduction of Sea World, one of the company’s most whimsical designs, is a standout this spring. Designed by Max Esser and originally made in 1923, the chess set has a marine theme that pays tribute to the reigning world chess champion of the period, José Raúl Capablanca, who hailed from Cuba.

The intricate details of Esser’s starfish pawns, sea horse knights, lobster bishops, and octopus rooks show his particular genius for sculpting animals. The Sea World set ($36,000) is from an edition of 19 from the Century Collection, a series that debuted in 1999 highlighting the German porcelain company’s artistic legacy. Editions from this series feature a special gold signet back stamp. It is a rare event when a chess set is released, as Meissen only produces them when one of its artists feels inspired. The last set, issued in 1986, was Peter Strang’s Heaven and Hell, which features saucy demons challenging demure deities. 

From Around the Web...
Two groundbreaking modern paintings sell for high above their original estimates…
Montblanc launches two special edition pens to honor the legendary artwork of Wassily Kandinsky…
The year’s best services for collectors include an L.A. gallery, a summer fair in Seattle, and more…
Modigliani’s Masterpiece Jeanne Hébuterne (au foulard) will cross the block in London…
The auction house is offering a variety of collectibles from the late comedian’s estate…
The greatest art galleries from around the world bring their finest pieces to Basel, Switzerland…
At a recent Christie’s sale, Untitled cleared the artist’s last record by nearly $10 million…
This June, Picasso’s groundbreaking Femme Assise painting will be auctioned off in London…
Used by Prince on early albums and tours, the custom guitar will have an opening bid of $30,000…
400 years have passed since the legendary playwright passed away, but his legacy lives on in a huge...