Philip Guston’s legendary, prescient political satire of Richard Nixon.
In the summer of 1971—two years before Watergate—Richard Nixon was an incumbent fighting to hold on to the presidency. Philip Guston was holed up in Woodstock, New York, still rebounding from the punishing critical response to the debut of his recent figurative work. Inspired in part by the work of his friend Philip Roth, who had just finished Our Gang, Guston began drawing the object of his political angst and despair—Richard Nixon, transformed into the character “Poor Richard.”
In a series of 72 drawings, Guston tells the story of Poor Richard (rendered with a distinctively phallic nose and scrotal jowls) as he stumbles through his rise to power, plotting strategy, shamelessly pandering to voters and planning his triumphant “Asian Tour.”
Guston carefully sequenced the drawings in 1971 and planned to publish them as a book, even designing an original title page. But he held back, and the images were never published during his lifetime; only in 2001 were the drawings exhibited for the first time, accompanied by a publication of the series from the University of Chicago Press.
Poor Richard by Philip Guston brings Guston’s series back into print. Reproducing Guston’s own sequencing, layout and original title page from 1971, Poor Richard by Philip Guston presents this shockingly fresh, delightfully profane series, with beautiful new reproductions, as the graphic novel it was meant to be.
Author: Philip Guston
Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.5 x 7 inches
Paperback: 96 pages