Salvador Dali 1961-On[Singles]
To Ev'ry Captive Soul
Medium: Inks and watercolor on engraving.
To Ev'ry Captive Soul
Salvador Dali was the chief exponent of Surrealism, an artistic movement begun in the late 1920s, whose chief aim was to pictorially explore the subconscious and the world of dream imagery. Its patron saint was the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud.
Dali not only created history's most popular and profound surrealist works in all mediums, but had a remarkable post-Surrealist period, which he termed Nuclear-Mysticism. Begun roughly in the mid-'40s - and deeply inspired by the advent of the atomic bomb and new discoveries in nuclear physics - this period saw Dali's creation of some 20 wall-sized masterworks that explored scientific, historical, and religious themes.
In addition to being a master painter, with a painstaking technique compared to that of Velasquez, Vermeer, and Raphael, Dali was a brilliant and inventive lithographer, etcher, autobiographer, novelist, filmmaker, designer, poet, theatre set designer and more. He was the first major artist to harness the technology of holography and stereoscopy to fine art.
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The present work was a gift from Dali to his beloved Archivist, Albert Field, a man who painstakingly assembled a complete catalog of the graphic works of Dali, and who was publisher of the To Ev'ry Captive Soul graphic.
This version of To Ev'ry Captive Soul is especially important and rare, owing to the original handiwork by Dali in the lower left of the bordering space around the engraved image, in which we see Dante pouring out his soul to Beatrice. In 1973, Frank Hunter, an associate of official Dali Archivist Albert Field, commissioned Salvador Dali to produce a graphic work based on the surrealistic imagery of a sonnet from Dante Alighieri La Vita Nova (The New Life).
Dali, again inspired by Dante (he had in the mid-1950s produced his famous series of 101 wood engravings based on Dante's epic Divine Comedy), a year later presented Mr. Hunter with a copper plate containing his creation, titled To Ev'ry Captive Soul. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Hunter and the Salvador Dali Archives jointly published the work as a limited edition etching.
This period in Dali's life, the early to mid-1970s, saw him involved in a multitude of creative endeavors, from etching and lithography, to preparation of his museum in Figueras, Spain, to experimentation with holograms and stereoscopic paintings. Dali's imagination and energies were boundless.
La Vita Nuova, on which this superb etching is based, is a sequence of poems that tells the story of Dante's passion for Beatrice, the beautiful sister of one of his closest friends. Through Dante's heartfelt writings - his poems and sonnets as well as his own commentary - Beatrice emerges as symbol of unrequited love and deep spiritual and romantic passion. The almost supernatural love Dante held for her comes across in his poems and sonnets, in which he poured out his feelings, and that same passion and energy is captured in Dali's sensitive graphic.
The ultimate treasure of the present piece, however, is the small but beautifully significant original handiwork Dali has added, in watercolor and ink. The yellow and red painted heart bleeds with the sorrow of unfulfilled love, while trademark Dalinian ants nearby suggest the symbolic decay of a love that was never to be. The heart clearly recalls Dali's famed Art-in-Jewels, and, specifically, the beautiful piece titled Honeycomb Heart, about which Dali said: There's a little bit of sweetness in the heart of every woman.
It bears special note, moreover, that Albert Field asked nothing in return for his hard work as Salvador Dali's official, and tireless, archivist. Field invested a tremendous amount of his time, energies and passion for Dali's creative genius into the making of this fine print. Dali truly appreciated Mr. Field's efforts and dedication, and the Master produced, in painstaking detail, a timeless, poetic work of art whose bleeding heart symbolizes his enduring love for great craftsmanship and, just maybe, for rare people like Albert Field, who devoted his life to Dali's legacy.
Thus, this work, offered exclusively by The Salvador Dali Society, embodies the rare combination of Dali's fine line in the medium of engraving with a colorful dash of original watercolor and ink drawing. All from the imagination and hand of the Master of Surrealism.