The Van Abbemuseum Collection consists of over 2800 artworks. We publish texts and images on an ongoing basis, but this record is currently in the process of being documented.
In 'Coat' the Italian artist Domenico Gnoli painted part of a jacket very precisely. The fishbone motif, the seam between the collar and the lapel, the buttonhole and the breast pocket with a handkerchief are represented in so much detail that the work looks almost real. The painting has a grainy structure. Except for the thin pink lines in the top left-hand corner, 'Coat' consists entirely of shades of grey and white.
In the 1950s, when art was dominated by Abstract Expressionism, Gnoli was producing figurative work. In the 1960s he joined the avant-garde and his work was associated with Pop Art. However, there was a clear distinction. In Pop Art the objects that are depicted remain themselves and they are typical products of the contemporary consumer society represented in an impersonal style. Gnoli also painted trivial objects from his immediate environment, but he did add a personal dimension. Gnoli focused not only on his subject, but also on the material with which he worked. He added sand or splinters of marble to this basic material, resulting in a grainy structure, and then did the painting on top of this.
Gnoli mainly painted details and cut-outs which were usually parts of garments or hairstyles, and he devoted a great deal of attention to the pattern or the material of the subject he chose. He stylized this to some extent, but did not manipulate it. Despite this apparently businesslike approach, he managed to achieve an almost magical effect in his paintings. The objects are enlarged to such an extent that they acquire superhuman proportions. Because of the curious cut-outs, they do not reveal any of the characteristics of the person to whom they belong. Nevertheless, the human presence is tangible. For example, in 'Coat' the folds in the piece of the shirt in the top left corner reveal that they are covering a body. However, the person remains invisible and unknown. The object that is depicted plays the main role and is in some way personified.
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