Chessmen One

© The Estate of Anwar Jalal Shemza. All rights reserved, DACS 2024. Image credit: Tate

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The painting Chessmen One depicts four horizontal rows of black chess pieces which increase in height from the top down. They are set against a lightly textured pale blue background. Each row of chessmen is decorated with sinuous linear detail in different colours, red on the top row, blue on the second, cream on the third and green on the fourth. Each horizontal division between the rows is painted in one of these colours. The chessmen are depicted in a schematic, near abstract frontal view that emphasises the flatness and two-dimensional surface of the canvas.

Tate Britain



Chessmen One




oil on canvas


H 92 x W 71 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Purchased 2010

Work type



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Tate Britain

Millbank, London, Greater London SW1P 4RG England

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