LAMA / Noguchi Chess Table
This Isamu Noguchi chess table (IN-61) for Herman Miller is also part of the LAMA December 16th auction.
Not all the surviving examples have this lacquered cast aluminum rotating tray.
Apparently it was the cost to produce this tray that led Herman Miller
to the realization that the tables were going to be too costly to put into production.
The maple version with the tray that LAMA has in their sale is the one to get.
I couldn't find a record of one anywhere else. It also comes with a great pedigree of exhibitions.
1948 Promotional photo showing the chess table doubling as a sewing table.
Image: Noguchi, Bruce Altshuler
This is where to store the chess pieces, or yarn I guess.
Lucite inlay and red dowels close-up
The table and plastic chess pieces were originally designed for a 1944 exhibition, The Imagery of Chess,
which was held at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York.
This image is a of a 2003 reproduction of the set.
You can buy a replica for yourself for $25k at the Akari store.
Image: Noguchi Museum
I'd like to get my hands on some original chess pieces.
"The Imagery of Chess Revisited" is about that 1944 Julien Levy Gallery exhibition.
Image: Noguchi Museum
According to Peter Loughrey at LAMA, there are only about a dozen of these in existence. Here are the ones I found:
1. This one at LAMA December 16th Auction (bird's-eye maple with tray)
2. S&S Auction, October 2012 (ebonized, no tray)
3. LAMA Auction, December 2011 (ebonized, no tray)
4. Christie's Auction, June 2012 (ebonized with tray)
5. Rago Auction, April 2008 (ebonized with tray)
6. Wright , December 2002 (ebonized with tray)
7. Christie's Auction, December 2002 (ebonized with tray)
8. Phillips de Pury, December 2001 (bird's-eye maple, no tray)
9. Treadway Auction, December 1998 (ebonized, no tray)
10. Art Institute of Chicago Collection (ebonized with tray)
11. Vitra Design Museum Collection (ebonized with tray)
A couple of these could have sold twice. Either way, it seems like there might be at least one floating around out there to be found at the next flea market.
LAMA just did a great post about the table here: Isamu Noguchi Chess Table