Philip Guston’s Graphic Novel

Chris Ware writes: ‘In the summer of 1971, the painter Philip Guston, one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century, began a series of drawings under the working title of “Poor Richard” that grew out of his disgust and fascination with Richard Nixon. Philip Roth, the writer and Guston’s close friend, offered encouragement to Guston in his pursuit of Nixon-as-subject; their anger at the path America was taking and, as Roth told

Charles McGrath in a recent essay about the drawings, their “shared delight” in Nixon’s “vile character” buoyed their regular conversations. Drawn in the aftermath of Guston’s critically excoriated Marlborough Gallery exhibition of paintings of cigar-smoking Klu Klux Klansmen, these genuinely weird and directly narrative drawings were so wildly out of step with the non-objective, non-narrative, non-everything of the fine art world that they ended up largely unseen and unmentioned for decades.’

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