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Alexander J. Heaney

1876 - 1936

The Chess Players by Alexander J. Heaney

The Chess Players  

  Original etching with touches of drypoint.
Signed in pencil.
S 361 x 453 mm; P & I 214 x 277 mm
Trial proof impression printed under high pressure with resulting distortion to the sheet and pronounced platemark. An especially fine artist’s proof.

As Alexander Heaney’s work progressed it became increasingly figurative in nature. This outstanding study of a group of chess players is one of his finest figurative works and relates directly to the drypoint of the same title by his friend and fellow Savage Club member, Stanley Anderson.

Stanley Anderson had been a member of the private arts club known as the Bristol Savages for a full eight years by the time that Alexander Heaney joined its ranks in 1915.
There is no doubt that these two accomplished printmakers knew one another well and even a glance at their work shows the influence that they had upon one another as artists. Stanley Anderson had moved to London in 1909; however, he remained a member of the Savages until 1916 and continued to exhibit with them for several years. A Bristolian by birth, Anderson maintained his association with his old friends and kept his ties with the West of England, exhibiting at the Royal West of England Academy regularly from 1923 until 1947. Anderson’s plate of The Chess Players dates from 1925 and bears remarkable similarity to Heaney’s design with its trio of male chess players, one wearing a hat and one with spectacles, whilst coats and hats are seen hung in a similar manner in both designs. Which plate came first or whether they were the result of some personal competition is unknown; however, their connection is beyond dispute.

On cream laid F J Head & Co paper with full margins and deckle edge. Some distortion to the sheet due to the extreme pressure under which this Trial proof was printed, otherwise generally very good original condition.

Provenance: From the collection of Phyllis Heaney, the artist’s daughter – thence by descent to her granddaughter.