Domenico Gnoli - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Sunday, June 26, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private Collection, Rome
    Christie's, London, Contemporary Art Part I, 2 December 1993, lot 44
    Private Collection, Germany
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    New York, Sidney Janis Gallery, Domenico Gnoli in his First American Exhibition of Paintings & Sculptures, 3-27 December 1969, no 23
    Darmstadt, Kunsthalle der Stadt Darmstadt, Domenico Gnoli, 14 July-19 August 1973, no. 54
    Rotterdam, Museum Boymans Van Beuningen, Domenico Gnoli, 14 September-4 November 1973, no. 51
    Paris, Centre National d'Art Contemporain, Domenico Gnoli, 16 November 1973-7 January 1974
    Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Domenico Gnoli, 17 January-17 February 1974
    Nuremberg, Kunsthalle Nürnberg am Marientor, Schuhwerke - Aspekt zum Menschenbild, 28 May-26 September 1976
    Rome, Galleria Giulia, Domenico Gnoli, April 1981, no. 8
    Verona, Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea Achille Forti, Domenico Gnoli. Antologica, 1982-1983
    Lausanne, Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Rétrospective Domenico Gnoli, 1983
    Rome, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Domenico Gnoli (1933-1970), 21 February-12 April 1987, no. 66
    Madrid, Fundación Caja de Pensiones, Domenico Gnoli, 1990, no. 8
    Tokyo, Wante Museum, Italia Anni '60, 1992-1993

  • Literature

    Domenico Gnoli in his First American Exhibition of Paintings & Sculptures, exh. cat., Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, no. 23, p. 21
    Domenico Gnoli, exh. cat., Kunsthalle der Stadt Darmstadt, Darmstadt, 1973, no. 54, p. 76
    Domenico Gnoli, exh. cat., Centre National d'Art Contemporain, Paris, 1973-1974, p. 57 (illustrated)
    L. Carluccio, Domenico Gnoli, Lausanne, 1974, p. 158 (illustrated)
    Schuhwerke - Aspekt zum Menschenbild, exh. cat., Kunsthalle Nürnberg am Marientor, Nuremberg, 1976, p. 110
    Dalla natura all’arte, dall’arte alla natura, exh. cat., XXXVIII Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 1978, p. 258
    Domenico Gnoli, exh. cat., Galleria Giulia, Rome, 1981, no. 8, pp. 16 and 68 (illustrated)
    Domenico Gnoli. Antologica, exh. cat., Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea Achille Forti, Verona, 1982, p. 103
    F. Maria Ricci, Gnoli, Milan, 1983, no. 195, pp. 162-63 and 223, (illustrated)
    Domenico Gnoli (1933-1970), exh. cat., Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome, 1987, no. 66, p. 29, n.p (illustrated)
    Domenico Gnoli, exh. cat., Fundación Caja de Pensiones, Madrid, 1990, no. 8 and 40, pp. 34-35, 113 and 150 (illustrated)
    Y. Vu, Domenico Gnoli a Mallorca / in Majorca 1963-1970, Palma, 2006, no. 49, pp. 224-25 and 248 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Domenico Gnoli was never tempted by the reality of the objects. Instead he believed in the representation of them, in their theatrical aspect. All of his works are like characters on stage; he was after all a brilliant stage designer. At theatre’s details escape the viewer, that’s when Gnoli’s art turns the lens and what we were used to seeing from afar becomes closer and closer. The proscenium is turned into a magnifying lens. The viewer is turned into a tailor, a hairstylist, a barber, a seamstress, a maid, also a flee. Everything in Gnoli’s art is perfectly in order, groomed, combed, pressed, clean. Gnoli’s paintings are not frozen, they are suspended, waiting for something to go wrong. The hand ruffling the hair, the sweat wrinkling the shirt, the spot staining the pants, the thread fraying, the button falling, the sex messing the bed.

    In the mid-seventies Philip Guston will address some of Gnoli’s subjects, two people in bed, the back of a canvas, the shoe, in a much more seedy and sloppy way. While in the mid-eighties, in a much more eerie way, Robert Gober will address with his beds, sheets, legs and hair the hidden violence under a seemingly proper appearance. Gnoli does not load his work with such meanings. He is an esthetic. A pressed shirt is an act of love and a demonstration of care not the premise for any kind of violence. A well prepared bed an act of duty and devotion. The inside of a woman’s shoe a whole universe, an abstract space, a form.

    In this painting we can find the same abstraction that we see in Pino Pascali’s fragments of animals. In fact Pascali and Gnoli were close friends sharing both the experimental attitude towards the world of images. Extracting details and giving them a life of their own. Inside of Lady’s Shoe, 1969 is maybe one of the more daring of Gnoli’s works. The viewer has to struggle to find his or her position and point view in relation to the painting. Once you find it then the space is magically revealed. It is like looking inside a Donald Judd sculpture where the space becomes form. In this case it is the form that Gnoli is masterfully able to transform into space, into void. This is one of the rare cases where Gnoli is escapes his often limiting, almost cartoonish style to achieve the revealing talent of a conceptual painter.


Inside of Lady's Shoe

acrylic and sand on canvas
180 x 120 cm (70 7/8 x 47 1/4 in.)
Signed, titled and dated 'D. Gnoli "Inside of Lady Shoe" 1969' (sic) on the reverse. Further signed and dated 'D. Gnoli 69' on the reverse.

£1,000,000 - 1,500,000 

Sold for £965,000

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London
+44 207 318 4063

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 27 June 2016