The collection
Low black table in wood with peg holes in the surface and curving sides and legs.

Chess Table

Designed by
Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988)
Ebonized plywood, aluminum, plastic
Produced by
Herman Miller Furniture Company, Zeeland, Michigan
48.8 x 86 x 77.6 cm

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Liliane and David M. Stewart Collection, gift of Jay Spectre, by exchange, D85.132.1

An internationally renowned sculptor of the twentieth century, Noguchi was raised in both the U.S. and Japan. He worked in Paris in 1927–29 as an assistant to Constantin Brancusi, whose abstract work was a major influence on him. Noguchi said, “Everything is sculpture. Any material, any idea without hindrance born into space, I consider sculpture.” His view is demonstrated in this biomorphic design with its undulating four-legged base and supports. The plywood top swivels to reveal storage compartments for the chessmen. The ancient game of chess is here updated in a modern design.

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, photo: Denis Farley. © 2019 The Isamu Noguchi Foundation & Garden Museum / SOCAN.