Behind The Gambit

Fans of the smash Netflix show should get a kick out of this: In 1983, this painting by Will Barnet (1911-2012) was chosen as the cover for the first edition of “The Queen’s Gambit,” written by Walter Tevis and published by Random House:

More than 50 years earlier, Barnet studied here at The League with instructors Stuart Davis and Charles Locke. He went on to become an instructor himself, influencing a generation of artists including Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Robert Beverly Hale, James Rosenquist, Mavis Pusey and Cy Twombly.⁠
His works have entered virtually every major public collection in the United States, including the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
“Color is extremely important to me,” he told the Smithsonian in 2009. “But I’m not a colorist in a usual sense because my colors are not realistic. They happen to be colors that have to be used in relation to the mood of the painting…The canvas itself is flat, and you are not a photographer. You’re an artist, a painter. You have to recognize that that flat surface has to be respected.”⁠

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