Posted by: Joe
This painting, a 1926 study for “Honey is Sweeter than Blood” was auctioned yesterday at Christies in London with an estimate between $3,200,000 and $4,800,000. It sold for $6,570,000. The original painting for which this is a study is missing and believed to be destroyed – a great loss for Dali Fans throughout the world.
Posted by: Joe
I have long admired this work, titled simply, Landscape with Skelton. This original engraving with color by pochoir was published in 1975 as part of a suite titled Visions de Quevado.
The handicapped Quevado (1584 -1645) deplored the wars raging in Europe during his time. This work appears to be a landscape of war. The bones do not fit in any orderly fashion, much like a body broken to pieces after a battle. The shadow of Quevado himself is present, his club foot represented predominately in the foreground as a twisted array of bones. One bone transforms into a spoon and drips something onto the landscape.
A Bishop floats in the background indicating Quevado’s deep religious convictions. An angel, sitting, his head in his hands, covers his eyes from the horrors of war.
Posted by: PaulChimera
Whether implausibly long or ultra-short, you’ve got to love the titles of so many of Salvador Dali’s works. Here, in “Poetry of America” – chosen today because the sweat of those Packers and Steelers is barely patted dry from Sunday’s Super Bowl – Dali depicts American football as a kind of poetic dance, choreographed on a barren “playing field” – the players poised almost as if in a ballet, complete with codpiece.
Dali painted this work (the original is in the collection of the Teatro-Museu Dali in Figueras and considered the collection of Salvador himself) while he and Gala were in exile in the United States during World War II. Through Dali’s surrealist lens, popular sporting events such as football and baseball represented the poetry of American popular culture. Dali never comprehended the strategy of either game very well; instead, his creative mind was captivated by the pageantry, the costumes, and the artful maneuverings of the athletes.
He seems to pay special tribute to Black athleticism by the football-clutching African-American figure emerging trophy-like from the back of one of the main players, but at the same time is widely acknowledged as representing Dali’s concern or premonition of forthcoming conflict in America between the races. This is symbolized by a map of Africa hanging from the watch tower in the background – soft and misshapen, as if in uncertain transition.
A remarkable detail in “Poetry of America” is the wonderfully realistic-looking bottle of Coca-Cola dangling from a player’s chest, and which then morphs into another supremely American accoutrement – the ubiquitous telephone. This is yet another example of Dali having been well ahead of his time, since the appearance of such a pop-art icon (the Coke bottle) in this 1943 canvas came some two decades before including such everyday objects in paintings became fashionable among pop artists such as Andy Warhol in the 1960s.
It may be anyone’s guess what the empty leather helmet and lit candle it encloses were intended to convey, though a Freudian filter placed over our interpretative lens might find a potential sexual allusion here to virility, what with the dark empty space and the phallic candle!
I’ve noted quite a few times now how Dalinian Continuity connects many of Dali’s paintings, and here again we see evidence of it in the naked male figure at left, holding a tall pole or lance. This detail would be echoed 16 years later in the four naked men, with virtually identical haircuts, grasping the same prop in Dali’s immense “Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus.” Both paintings pay tribute to the influence of America on Dali, each in their own poetic and Dalinian way.
Posted by: Joe
“The god of the cannibals will be a cannibal, of the crusaders, a crusader, and of the merchants a merchant”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Posted by: PaulChimera
Dali’s “Portrait of Paul Eluard” goes on the block Feb. 10 at Sotheby’s in London, set to potentially break the record price paid for a Dali painting at auction, with its estimate of about $7 million to $9 million. The small but hugely important 1929 oil on board is awash in what Dali and Surrealism were all about.
While the then 25-year-old painter captured a faithful likeness of Eluard, the esteemed French poet and one of the founders of the Surrealist movement – in addition, of course, to having been married to Gala until shortly after she met Salvador in Cadaques, Spain – Dali has filled the composition with a mélange of personal and Freudian symbolic images.
What conflict the impressionable and smitten Dali must have felt, capturing Eluard’s portrait while at the same time capturing his wife’s heart, since Dali was having an affair with her while she was still Mrs. Eluard!
The raw nerves of Dali’s ambivalent, often confused sexuality, and the angst over the fact that his father promptly disowned him upon learning of his scandalous sexual rendezvous with a married woman (and one 10 years his senior, at that), find expression in the surrealist portrait’s compelling iconography.
It has long been understood that lions in Dali’s pictures symbolize his fear of his father and of sexual intercourse, and Freud contended resolutely that objects such as trees (seen on Eluard’s suit) and vessels (note the vessel or pitcher-like mask in the upper right) symbolize thoughts or dreams of the male and female genitals, respectively.
Dali pulls off an ingenious triple-image at left, where a phallic fish head doubles as the oft-seen self-portrait of Dali, while the fish’s eye is at the same time the head of a grasshopper – an object of genuine fear to young Dali. The entire portrait is supported by a strand of human hair, which Freud determined in our dreams to not be far from anxiety over baldness and – far more onerous – castration.
Little wonder, then, that this small Dali painting is creating a big buzz among collectors and historians, as it’s on the cusp of a sale at Sotheby’s and is unquestionably one of the most important early surrealist paintings by the movement’s greatest master.
Posted by: PaulChimera
By any measure, Dali’s “Nature Morte Vivante” (“Still Life – Fast Moving”) of 1956 is one of the most accomplished of his masterworks. I was reacquainted with it late last month, when I toured the impressive new Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, and was again transfixed by the painting’s beauty, and by how perfect an example it is of how Dali years ago described his technique: “hand-painted color photography.” I’m not sure I can cite another Dali canvas that’s quite as photographic in its precision as this one.
“Nature Morte Vivante” was painted over a 5-month period and expresses Dali’s interest in atomic physics, with objects like an apple and cherry zipping through space in the manner of intra-atomic particles. Indeed, everything in the fast-moving still life floats in a rigorously defined space, not unlike sub-atomic particles – Dali’s acknowledgement of then-new discoveries about the discontinuity of matter. In Dali’s amusing way, he described things this way: “Everything is rumping and jumping about!”
Dali’s faithfulness to mathematical principles as they relate to the achievement of spatial harmony in an artistic composition like this inspired his inclusion of a cauliflower, in whose morphology is found a natural logarithmic curve. That same logarithmic spiral, Dali observed, can be found in the horn of a rhinoceros, and indeed Dali’s own hand intrudes at left, holding such a horn.
This blog has noted several times the concept of Dalinian Continuity, and here again we see unmistakable links to the tablecloth and glass of wine in the artist’s famous picture, “The Sacrament of the Last Supper” in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Visitors to the Dali Museum, this blogger observed, seemed to stand in awe as they contemplated the almost unbelievable exactitude of the leaf, the floating bottle of Anis del Mono, and the breathtaking Mediterranean seascape in “Nature Morte Vivante.” I remember, when I was publicity director of the original Dali Museum in Beachwood, Ohio, that Reynolds and Eleanor Morse’s son, Brad, considered this painting his all-time favorite by the Surrealist Master.
Posted by: Joe
“When all the stars are falling down
Into the sea and on the ground,
And angry voices carry on the wind,
A beam of light will fill your head
And you’ll remember what’s been said
By all the good men this world’s ever known.
Another man is what you’ll see,
Who looks like you and looks like me,
And yet somehow he will not feel the same,
His life caught up in misery, he doesn’t think like you and me,
‘Cause he can’t see what you and I can see.”
-Moody Blues, Melancholy Man
Melancholy by Salvador Dali
posted by Joe Nuzzolo
Posted by: PaulChimera
Let’s continue in the Valentine’s Day spirit and consider a Dali painting that to overlook at this time of year would be near criminal: Meditative Rose, sometimes called, simply, The Rose (1958). If the bloom is off the rose in your relationship, try offering him or her a reproduction of this lovely painting; it just might turn things around!
Interpretations of Dali considers this painting one of the all-time most beautiful works of art by the Catalan Master. At age 54, Dali executed what must certainly be one of the most breathtaking depictions of the eternal symbol of beauty and the most popular flower for Feb. 14th. He may be known as the kingpin of Surrealism, but Dali was also a man of many moods, styles, tastes and talents – and nowhere is that more evident than the stark about-face here from the wilder imagery we usually associate with him. The mystical and magical feel of the work – possibly a nod to a Rene Magritte painting, where the Belgian artist positioned a huge rock hovering similarly in the sky – is consistent with this Nuclear-Mystical period in Dali’s career.
The large presence of the rose hovers above a tranquil landscape, on which two lovers share a tender, solitary moment. The sun dawns over the horizon, and a dew drop on the bottom petal of the flower is stunningly photographic – a kind of tromp l’oeil (fool the eye) approach that adds to the classic beauty and impressive realism of the work. Roses have long figured into Dali’s pictures, from as early as his Invisible Man of 1929-’32, to his monumental Hallucinogenic Toreador of 1970. And, to be sure, sharp realism has always been a Dali trademark.
For those who think Dali was just a painter of burning giraffes and melting clocks, Meditative Rose makes it clear he was, at times, also a painter of undeniable beauty. I wonder how many Dali reproductions, poster and prints will be gifted this Valentine’s Day, featuring the incomparable Rose of Salvador Dali!