DOMENICO GNOLI (1933-1970)
DOMENICO GNOLI (1933-1970)
DOMENICO GNOLI (1933-1970)
3 More
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY OF A LADY
DOMENICO GNOLI (1933-1970)

Sous la Chaussure (Under the Shoe)

DOMENICO GNOLI (1933-1970)
Sous la Chaussure (Under the Shoe)
signed, titled and dated 'D. Gnoli 1967 “sous la chaussure”' (on the reverse)
acrylic and sand on canvas
72 3⁄4 x 55 1⁄8in. (184.7 x 140cm.)
Executed in 1967
Galerie Krugier, Geneva.
Private Collection, Paris.
Galerie Isy Brachot, Brussels.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1985.
L. Carluccio, Domenico Gnoli, Lausanne 1974 (illustrated, p. 125).
V. Sgarbi, Gnoli, Milan 1983, p.221, no. 160 (illustrated in colour, p. 124).
Domenico Gnoli: Pintures, Escultures, Dibuixos, Gravats, Esbossos, exh. cat., Palma de Mallorca, Centre de Cultura Sa Nostra, 1997 (installation view with the artist illustrated, p. 242).
Y. Vu (ed.), Domenico Gnoli a Mallorca / in Majorca 1963-1970, Palma de Majorca 2006, p. 245, no. 28 (installation view with the artist illustrated, p. 182; illustrated in colour, p. 183).
Imagine, New Imagery in Italian Art 1960-1969, exh. cat., Venice, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, 2016 (illustrated in colour, p 180).
Hannover, Kestner-Gesellschaft, Domenico Gnoli, 1968, p. 40, no. 56 (illustrated, p. 27).
Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Domenico Gnoli, 1968, no. 18.
Geneva, Galerie Krugier, Domenico Gnoli, 1970, no. 37 (illustrated, p. 32).
Bremen, Kunsthalle Bremen, Domenico Gnoli 1933-1970, 1981, p. 56, no. 23 (illustrated in colour, p. 26).
Berlin, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Der unverbrauchte Blick : Kunst unserer Zeit in Berliner Sicht, 1987.
Madrid, Fundación Caja de Pensiones, Domenico Gnoli, Últimas Obras 1963-1969, 1990, p. 149, no. 23 (installation view with the artist illustrated, p. 33; illustrated in colour, p. 126).
New York, Luxembourg & Dayan, Domenico Gnoli: Detail of a Detail, 2018, pp. 66, 83 (installation view with the artist illustrated, p. 10; installation view illustrated in colour, p. 58; detail illustrated in colour, pp. 64-65; illustrated in colour, 67).
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent. Where Christie’s has provided a Minimum Price Guarantee it is at risk of making a loss, which can be significant, if the lot fails to sell. Christie’s therefore sometimes chooses to share that risk with a third party. In such cases the third party agrees prior to the auction to place an irrevocable written bid on the lot. The third party is therefore committed to bidding on the lot and, even if there are no other bids, buying the lot at the level of the written bid unless there are any higher bids. In doing so, the third party takes on all or part of the risk of the lot not being sold. If the lot is not sold, the third party may incur a loss.
Further details
This work has been requested for inclusion in the upcoming Domenico Gnoli retrospective at the Fondazione Prada, Milan, October 2021 - February 2022.
Sale room notice
Please note this lot is no longer under the Temporary Admission regime. It is now being sold under the VAT Margin Scheme which means 20% VAT will be added to the buyer's premium.

Brought to you by

Tessa Lord
Tessa Lord Senior Specialist, Head of Department

Lot Essay

An exquisitely executed painting of a black wingtip shoe lifting from the ground, Sous la Chaussure (Under the Shoe) (1967) is a masterclass in Domenico Gnoli’s thrilling, microscopically observed surrealism. Blown up to monumental scale, Gnoli’s carefully framed details of tailoring, furniture and hairstyles become hypnotic, dreamlike fields of texture and pattern. His vision is at once intimate and remote, obsessive and detached, hallucinatory and richly real. Viewed from behind, the shoe’s rising heel and sole fill most of the present canvas; its form, dramatically foreshortened, becomes a vast, voluptuous black silhouette. Every detail—the shoe’s punched broguing and gleaming stacked heel, the fine weave of a red sock, the shadow cast on the ridged, bamboo-coloured floor—is picked out with hyper-real attention. Gnoli has blended his paint with sand, creating a tactile surface that heightens the work’s sensory charge. Widely exhibited since its creation, including in a major 1990 survey of Gnoli’s late works at the Fundación Caja de Pensiones, Madrid, Sous la Chaussure has been in the same private collection for more than thirty-five years. The work has been requested for inclusion in the upcoming Domenico Gnoli retrospective at the Fondazione Prada, Milan, from October 2021 to February 2022.

Shoes were an important theme for Gnoli, appearing multiple times in his large-scale works: a heeled shoe viewed in profile (Scarpa vista di profilo, 1966, Ludwig Museum, Cologne); stilettos, neatly paired and seen from behind (Ladys Feet, 1969, Von der Heydt-Museum, Wuppertal); and, in the penultimate painting of the artist’s life, the sharp, shining toe of a black leather pump (Pointed Shoe, 1969). If the present work’s shoe is more masculine in character, it nonetheless resonates with ideas of fetishism, fascination and the subconscious that are central to Freudian psychoanalysis—an approach to the mind in which Gnoli expressed close interest. In the late 1950s he regularly visited St. Luke’s Hospital in London as a volunteer therapist, helping patients to express their obsessions and traumas through drawing. He was familiar with the work of the Surrealists, who had championed similar methods half a century earlier in order to unleash the unconscious into their art. Inevitably, shoes played a key role for them too: André Breton’s unconscious was unlocked by a ‘dream object’ that hybridised a spoon and a slipper, while the central component of Salvador Dalí’s Surrealist Object Functioning Symbolically (1931) was a lady’s red heel.

Born in Rome to an art historian father, Gnoli considered himself rooted in a rich artistic heritage. ‘At a time like this,’ he explained in 1966, ‘when iconoclastic anti-painting wants to sever all connections with the past, I want to join my work to that “non-elegant” tradition born in Italy in the Quattrocento and recently filtered through the Metaphysical school’ (D. Gnoli, 1966, quoted in E. Braun (ed.), Italian Art in the 20th Century: Painting and Sculpture 1900-1988, London 1989, p. 435). Gnoli’s work can be seen in relation to contemporary Pop works by artists such as Claes Oldenburg, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, whose oversized depictions of consumer objects—informed by the sensational language of advertising—turned them into estranged, alienating icons. In his fixation on polished leather, fine textiles and neatly parted hair, however, Gnoli betrays an interest in a quieter, older and more artisanal world. Distinct from the pristine flatness of Pop, the present work’s sandy pigment foregrounds the sense of touch as well as vision; its floor-up perspective might be seen to stir the deep memories of earliest childhood, and even a primordial image of paternal authority. Inflected by examples from the Renaissance and beyond, the marvellous spectacle of Sous la Chaussure reflects Gnoli’s deeply personal attitude towards the things of modern life, and is expressive of feeling and fact in equal measure.

More from 20th/21st Century: Evening Sale Including Thinking Italian, London

View All
View All