Wilhelm Friedrich Giessel, Checkmate

Wilhelm Friedrich Giessel, Checkmate

This charming oil painting by Austrian artist Wilhelm Friedrich Giessel (1795-1858) depicts a courting couple in the 17th-century. The scene is lit by a single candle as a lady leans towards a seated gentleman. They’ve concluded a chess match and she’s victorious. The king is trapped - cornered and unable to move.

This clever little piece uses chess as an analogy for courtship. She’s moving towards her partner, echoing the story on the chessboard. He’s leaning back, a wistful look of resignation, the game is over. Giessel is taking a wry look at male commitment.

During the late 19th-century, artists often referenced the past to allude to a simpler time of kinship, courtship and love.

The painting is signed in the lower left and housed within a splendid rococo revival frame.

Learn more about Wilhelm Friedrich Giessel in our directory.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 23½” x 20½” / 60cm x 52cm
Year of creation: c. 1910
Condition: Overall very presentable. Minor craquelure. Canvas relined. Frame with some wear.
Artist’s auction highlight: £3,200 achieved for an oil painting in 2020.

Conservation & History

We care profoundly about our role as custodians and every piece in the collection has been assessed by our conservator. When required, we undertake professional restoration carefully using reversible techniques and adopt a light touch to retain the aged charm of each work. We also restore frames rather than replace them as many are original and selected by the artists themselves.

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