The Chess Player

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‘The Chess Players’
Oil on Panel
18” x 14”

Josef Gisela
Austrian 1854 – 1899

The Austrian genre painter Josef Gisela was born in Vienna in 1854 and was a pupil of Feuerbach and Angeli at the Vienna Academy. Gisela painted with a finely honed brush and produced paintings of outstanding quality and precision.

A Game of Chess set in the study of a late nineteenth century Austrian villa, is a superb example of Gisela’s talent. Painted on panel, to achieve the fine, crisp quality, Gisela has not only showed his great attention to detail, but he has successfully captured a moment in time. The elderly gentleman, neatly dressed in frock-coat and trousers, sits opposite the elegantly dressed young woman, as they engage in a game of chess. The artist has captured the looks on both their faces – the young woman, delicately keeps her finger on the chess piece and looks up to the man eyes for his reaction to her next proposed move, while he, hand on the table gives little away!

The quality of the painting is truly stunning – we can see the fine wrinkles on the gentleman’s hands, his finger nails, the whiskers of his side burns and kindly look on his face. In contrast, the young woman has a fresh face, with a creamy unlined skin and delicate fingers, which are gently placed on the chess piece and an enquiring look on her pretty face.

The interior is equally finely painted – the neatly stacked bookshelves with a stuffed owl sitting wisely on the top, behind the young woman. The pendulum clock, set at ten past four, ticks on the sideboard beneath a pair of gilt framed etchings. There is a beautifully decorated papier-mache tray on the chair, with a porcelain teacup and saucer and an empty embroidered bag from the chess pieces. The focal point of the painting is the chess set, the pieces carved from ivory, some on the board and the others discarded on the table. Josef has excelled himself in his observation and ability to transfer this onto the finished work.

Works by Josef Gisela can be found in the museums of Troppau and Vienna.

© Sutcliffe Galleries 2018


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