Modern Discoveries

Modern Discoveries

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 920. The Poor King.

Property from a Private Collection, Colorado

Domenico Gnoli

The Poor King

Lot Closed

October 4, 05:56 PM GMT


3,000 - 5,000 USD

Lot Details


Property from a Private Collection, Colorado

Domenico Gnoli

1933 - 1970

The Poor King

signed with the artist initials and dated 65 (toward lower right)

ink on paper

10 by 6 ⅜ in.

25.4 by 16.3 cm.

Executed in 1965.

Klover Gallery, Chicago

Private Collection, Beverly Hills

Thence by descent to the present owner

Domenico Gnoli, an Italian Pop artist and Surrealist known for his carefully detailed paintings, created The Poor King as part of large commission in 1965: a set of illustrations for the children’s book Alberic the Wise and Other Journeys by Norton Juster, author of famed novels such as The Phantom Tollbooth.

The Poor King is reproduced in the third section of the book -- a tale of two kings who become unhappy with their domains and go in search of other realms. The work illustrates the story’s conclusion, showing a king once poor who discovered riches and was nevertheless unsatisfied. The king’s affected manner and despondent face fill up the frame and are emphasized by the crosshatching Gnoli employs to bring depth and weight to the image. A preview of the book with Gnoli's illustrations is available here.

Gnoli was also a well-known magazine illustrator and a theater set designer. His editorial eye and sense for visual drama is evident in the present drawing. The Poor King is an example of Gnoli’s draftsmanship that underlies his broad artistic talents.