Posted by: PaulChimera
Enigmatic Elements in the Landscape is one of those perfect surrealist gems by the Master of Surrealism. Officials at the Teatru-Museu Dali in Figueres, Spain, which recently won the splendid little oil (for about $11 million – its most expensive acquisition to date), said the picture is “nearly perfect” in the way Dali painted it with such superb draftsmanship.
(The photo here was published in Artdaily.org, and shows the painting being videotaped in Spain.)
Beyond its technical virtuosity, there’s something about the canvas that’s supremely surrealistic and quintessentially Dalinian. It melds a number of key interests and obsessions of the then 30-year-old Catalan painter, and gives credence to those who contend Dali’s best work was that of the decade from 1929 to 1940.
Leading the viewer through a wide lane of Port Lligat – very similar to that seen in Dali’s The Ghost of Vermeer of Delft, Which Can Be Used as a Table (Dali Museum, Florida) – Dali gives us a rear view of Jan Vermeer himself, working at his easel. Vermeer, of course, was one of Dali’s favorite painters, second, perhaps, only to Velasquez. Comparisons can certainly be made between Dali’s portrayal of Vermeer in the present work and Vermeer’s own iconic masterpiece, The Artist in His Studio.
Set before the Vermeer figure, at a distance, is an enigmatic tower; cypress trees – common fixtures in Dali’s Spanish countryside and in countless of his paintings; and a mysterious shrouded figure, adding to the enigma that Dali wanted to convey in this work.
Also seen upon the landscape are a young Dali in a sailor suit, holding a hoop and bone; a nurse seated with her back to us; and the yin and yang “hugging beans” often found as a persistent element in Dali’s works.
One of Dali’s favorite colors, absinthe green, dominates the sky, while a beautiful glance of white sunlight dances across the middle distance.
This is one of those paintings many of us flip by when we’re leafing through coffee table books on Salvador Dali’s art, often never taking the time to consider what a jewel of a painting it is. Obviously the Fundacio Gala-Salvador Dali in Spain recognized its beauty and importance when it became the victorious bidder at auction – adding one of Dali’s best surrealist masterpieces to its impressive, ever-expanding collection.