New York Central Park Winter

 

New York Central Park Winter

 

new_york_central_park_winter_web copy

New York Central Park Winter

(from the suite Currier & Ives as Interpreted by Salvador Dali)

by Sabeeha Mirza of The Salvador Dali Society

Dali was enthralled by all things American. From the bustling streets of an industrialized New York City to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood cinema,  he was drawn to the irresistible modernity of the states. He spent eight years living in the U.S. and frequently visited even after his return to Spain. By befriending members of the celebrity elite, Dali engulfed himself in a world of mass appeal. He immersed himself in social circles that included everyone from forward thinking philosophers, innovative artists, pop culture icons, actors, models in an attempt to maintain his position on the brink of artistic innovation.

During the mid-1960s, Dali also befriended Sydney Z. Lucas of the famed Phyllis Lucas Gallery who later became the official publisher of Dali’s graphic works in North America.  After Sydney passed, his wife Phyllis continued the business relationship with Dali. It was during one of their meetings that Phyllis Lucas showed Salvador Dali an original edition of the Currier & Ives Prints collection and Dali was instantly taken by it. There before his eyes was everything he loved about the states, presented to him in visual form.

This collection of prints provided us with an artistic record of the various stages of progress and society during the onset of the industrial revolution.  The results were an illustrated patrimony of historical and cultural value, showcasing both the good and bad sides of American life. Phyllis Lucas commissioned Dali to reinvent some of the prints with a Dalinean perspective. This suite of 6  color lithographs titled Currier & Ives as Interpreted by Salvador Dali was completed between the years of 1965 to 1971. On each lithograph a small plate with a miniature of the original images from Currier & Ives is included, while also including several cues to the original in his rendition.  In New York Central Park Winter, Dali is able to capture the lively spirit of the original, but in a moodier, dreamlike fashion.  Dali’s version extracts key components of the original, while making changes to showcase a more ethereal quality of New York. In this way, the Dali’s work serves as a reflection of the spirit of the times.

Dali’s New York Central Park Winter allows the viewer to step into a snowy scene of winter festivity. The bleeding of watercolor in vertical streams down from the center give the illusion of the reflective quality of the cold winter’s ice upon which several skating figures glide. Hues of greys and blues create an atmospheric breath of cold air and smog. The center of the background is highlighted by a smattering of white in a flurry of of snow atop a shadowy mountain shape. This pinnacle pushes up from dark swipes of black paint covering a bridge that leads to watercolor houses peeking out from behind layers of smeared, smog-like, black gouache. Complementary colors of Mediterranean blue and bold orange emanate from the sky, offering a pop of contrast to the piece, guiding the viewer’s gaze downward.  The whole piece seems to be washed in the dark grimy greys and blacks of post-industrial New York. In the foreground, collaged butterflies are superimposed onto the bodies of faceless female skaters . These fairy-like figures seem to glide and circle across the paper. Their zig-zag shadows seem to lift them up into the air and add an element of levity to the scene. A singular male figure dressed in a top hat and long coat accompanies one of the butterfly skaters and draws a direct reference to the original Currier and Ives print. His hat paired with her spotted fur coat are direct artistic quotations from the original print.

New York Central Park Winter as interpreted by Salvador Dali showcases American leisure and affluence in the midst of the city’s leap into modernity.  It serves as a beacon of Americanism. The co-author of Dali Prints: The Catalogue Raisonné and founder of The Salvador Dali Society Joe Nuzzolo stated “How poignant that Salvador Dali, who loved everything American, put his spin on the definitive Americana-work from the turn of the century: Currier and Ives.” This print is a must-have for any Dali collector of as it is an artistic glimpse into American history.

 

© 2016 The Salvador Dalí Society®. All rights reserved
© Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation All Rights to Dalí’s Image, likeness, and works of art.
For more information and pricing contact: Joseph Nuzzolo, 888-888-DALI (3254)

 

The Immaculate Conception and The Visible Woman

The Immaculate Conception and The Visible Woman

by Peter Lucas

 

In 1925 Dali returned left the Escuela de Belas Artes in Madrid for a year.  During this time in Figueres, his hometown, he again studied wit his childhood drawing instructor; Professor Joan Nunez of the Municipal School of Drawing. While back with this old teacher he developed a passion for engraving. His father even let him set up a printing press in the family home.

Dali later claimed that during this time back home he became familiar with all the print making techniques and even developed a few of his own. Between 1924 and 1926 he did ten or more paintings and drawings of his sister Ana Maria. In these he was influence by the great portraitists Ingres and Picasso. Sometime in this period he did an etching of a girl’s head in an objective style that was new for him. This may have been his first master etching. Regrettably it has disappeared but in all likelihood first Dali print ever was a portrait of his sister.

In 1930 Dali illustrated THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION with texts by the leaders of the Surrealist Movement Andre Breton and Paul Eluard, one of the greatest modern French poets. Dali print authorities disagree as to whether he reworked with his own hand the plate for a heliograph in this volume. But there is little doubt that this work both exciting and creative as well is Dalinean. Moreover now that it is 82 years old, it is quite rare and therefore very much a great prize for anyone with a passion for Dali graphics. For no one can deny that the image itself arises purely from the creative consciousness as well as subconscious of none other than genius Salvador Dali. Further adding to the work’s value is that only 111 books for which it is the frontispiece were printed.

The same can be said about THE VISIBLE WOMAN illustration of the same year. This work has a number of figures integrated into it. Dali’s being able to create harmony among these several writhing partially and fully human bodies give this work tremendous energy as well as great beauty. We can only marvel at this artist’s imagination when viewing such a work, for which he executed a pen-and-ink drawing. Only 205 copies of the book in which this heliograph appears were printed.

 

© 2009 The Salvador Dalí Society®. All rights reserved
© Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation All Rights to Dalí’s Image, likeness, and works of art.
For more information and pricing contact: Joseph Nuzzolo, 888-888-DALI (3254)

 

Surrender of Breda, 1974

1304_Velazquez_TheSurrenderOfBreda

Surrender of Breda

Lithograph

Changes in Great Masterpieces

1974

 

By Paul Chimera

Dali Historian

(Mr. Chimera worked directly with Dali Museum founder Reynolds Morse, as the publicity director of the original Dali Museum when it was located in Beachwood, Ohio)

No artist in history was revered by Salvador Dali more than the Spanish master who painted “Surrender of Breda,” the large masterpiece depicted here, and on which Dali deftly made some eye-fooling, surrealistic changes. That artist was Velasquez, who occupied the number one spot in Dali’s list of his favorite artists, along with such other iconic painters as Vermeer and Raphael – both of whom Dali pays homage to in other graphic works from this “Changes in Great Masterpieces” series.

Scholars often cite “Surrender of Breda” as being one of the most purely Spanish paintings ever created. Salvador Dali agreed. Not only was he profoundly inspired by the genius of his 17th century precursor, but he was especially moved by his monumental canvas, which hangs in Madrid’s Prado Museum – a place Dali visited often to study the brushwork of the masters.

Remarkably, this single Velasquez picture figures in not one but two important Dali works. The first instance was in Dali’s huge and extraordinarily complex and beautifully painted canvas, “The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus” of 1959. Dali paid homage to the Velasquez painting by borrowing the flags and tall lances in the background of the earlier work and recreating them in the background of “Columbus.”

And, of course, the second instance of “Surrender of Breda’s” influence is in the present lithograph. Notice how Dali cleverly implied the illusion of a tear in the Breda work, down the middle. And then again, showing the same see-through background by virtue of the “hole” in the horse at right.

Below the main image is a small sepia reproduction of “Surrender of Breda,” accompanied by Dali’s sketch of the two main figures from the Velasquez work, one handing the key to the city off to the victor.

What a remarkable piece of Dalinian art, created the same year Dali’s Teatro-Museo Dali (Dali Theatre-Museum) opened in his birth town of Figueras, Spain. A tribute to his favorite artist. Adroit tromp l’ oil (eye-fooling) technique. Whimsical sketching. All coming together as part of what has long been considered one of Dali’s most interesting, inventive and important graphics suites.

 

 

© 2009 The Salvador Dalí Society®. All rights reserved
© Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation All Rights to Dalí’s Image, likeness, and works of art.
For more information and pricing contact: Joseph Nuzzolo, 888-888-DALI (3254

 

Jarre Du Péteur 1971

Jarre Du Péteur

         (From the suite Les Songes Drolatiques de Pantagruel )

1971
70 x 50 cm
Felt pen and gouache on paper

Original felt pen and gouache on paper.

Jarre Du Péteur

by Sabeeha Mirza of The Salvador Dali Society

Salvador Dali’s Le Jarre Du Péteur from the suite Les Songes Drolatiques de Pantagruel is not for the faint of heart. Dali doesn’t just manage to cross the line, but instead leaps over it in this 1971 piece that’s title loosely translates into English as “Jar of Farts”. This felt pen illustration on a wash of gouache was his visual interpretation of the novel (translated to English as): The Horrible and Terrifying Deeds and Words of the Very Renowned Pantagruel King of the Dipsodes, Son of the Great Giant Gargantua by François Rabelais. This book of tall tales, commonly known as Pantagruel, is chronologically the second volume of a series that follows the outlandish escapades of a family of giants. In 1532, it became the first book to be published by Rabelais under his pen name Alcofribas Nasier, and served as a sequel to the popular book entitled The Great Chronicles of the Great and Enormous Giant Gargantua, which was not credited by any specific author at the time.

In this particular volume, from which Dali’s work was inspired, Rabelais relates the antics of the giant named Pantragruel, the son of the aforementioned Gargantua. The tales of Pantragruel unfold via a series of nonsensical court cases and essays, cataloging the giant’s episodes. In one such episode, Pantragruel befriends a poorly mannered rascal and together they defeat a group of invading giants. The pair then proceed to urinate on the survivors, drowning them. Rabelais’s grotesque sense of humor and wild display of imagination resonated with Dali, because it was here that Dali found the inspiration for the fearlessness he displays in Le Jarre Du Peteur.

Dali’s unorthodox masterpiece Le Jarre Du Peteur brazenly depicts a large, human-like figure’s backside, expelling fumes from its rectum into an anthropomorphic, torch-bearing jar. With one leg bent in the air, the faceless giant’s other leg kneels down on one knee beside the dismembered flexed foot that bears Dali’s signature. The obscenity of the work is amplified by exposed bones protruding from the humongous, hairy legs from which several patches of weeds sprout from. Putrescence spews from the mouth of the disgruntled jar. While the figures are illustrated in black and white, the background is a robin’s egg blue, providing direct contrast to the yellow of the foreground. This sort of illustration on one-dimensional fields of color offers a sense of animation common to storytelling comics. Le Jarre Du Peteur proves that Dali was fearless and unapologetic. Even in the most vile, obscene subject matter—Dali manages to find the sophistication in its humor. When it comes to Dali, nothing is out of bounds.

jarre_du_peteur_Pantagruel_Descharnes

Includes original Descharnes' letter of authenticity.

888-888-DALI (3254)

310-937-3999

joe@dali.com

 

 

© 2016 The Salvador Dalí Society®. All rights reserved
© Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation All Rights to Dalí’s Image, likeness, and works of art.
For more information and pricing contact: Joseph Nuzzolo, 888-888-DALI (3254)

St. George

By Sabeeha Mirza of The Salvador Dali Society

Salvador Dali

St. George

1971
Gouache and Watercolor on Paper (ARCHES)
56 x 40.5 cm

 

Saint George and the Dragon

St. George

 

The late 60s and early 70s brought about a clear fascination with classic themes for Dali. He borrowed subject matter from everything from folkloric stories, Shakespeare, to Renaissance sculpture. More specifically, Dali was drawn to their reference to a singular common figure: the horse. The allure of this great animal in Dali’s eyes comes as no surprise. Historically horses proved to be the vehicle for travel conquest and exploration and thus became a symbol of power and determination. For Dali, horses not only exemplified grace, strength, and beauty but also anatomically were natural representations of perfect form and balance. Similarly, the artists Dali modeled himself after also such as Velazquez, Da Vinci, Delacroix, and Goya had produced painterly studies of horses as well. By painting horses, Dali cleverly included himself in a cultural lineage of great artistry through the common thread of motif. However as the title suggests, Dali takes this shared theme and presents it uniquely– in his own Dalinean fashion.

From 1970 through 1972 Dali created a suite of 25 horse-inspired paintings titled Dalinean Horses. Each of the works referred to a powerful story of heroism or to a prominent artist of influence as represented by a specific horse. One of the more alluring of works is Saint George. Dali had a fascination with the parable of Saint George and the Dragon—a tale adapted from similar narrative of Eastern origin and brought to the West by early Christian Crusaders. Dali had produced several works throughout his career modeled after the story, perhaps sparked by his interest in Gregorian folklore or the religious subtext of the story. Whatever the reason may be, the story of Saint George is a captivating one. As legend had it, a small kingdom had been plagued by a man-eating dragon which was fed a person periodically to satiate its appetite, preventing it from running havoc on the nearby towns. The unfortunate-soul that was offered to the beast was selected by lottery by decree of the king. That was until the lottery fell upon the princess–the king’s only daughter. By happenstance, Saint George was passing by the lake of which the dragon inhabited and spotted the damsel in distress. Saint George fearlessly charged at the beast, bearing merely a holy cross and a single spear, and wounded it. After rescuing the princess from harm’s way, Saint George harnessed the dragon using the princess’s girdle as a leash and led it back to the king. Upon arrival, George swore to kill the dragon and end its reign of terror with one condition: the king and his people must agree to accept the Christian faith, and thus join the legion of “the saved”. The king accepted the terms and thus Saint George secured himself a position as a hero and protector of the faith. It was this demonstrated valor, fortitude, and wit that made Saint George a reoccurring subject throughout Dali’s long career.

Saint George from Salvador Dali’s suite Dalinean Horses is hard to miss. While the story of Saint George was the inspiration of several of Dali’s works, Dali had never shown the protagonist quite like this before. In this rendition of Saint George, the off-primary colors of fuchsia, cerulean blue, yellow jump off of the paper in thick, bold strokes making it one of his most captivating versions yet. Perhaps inspired by the brazen nature of the preceding decade’s Pop Art, or the innovations in Technicolor television, Saint George is sophisticated and bold. Dali had also become a fan of groundbreaking Modernist artists such as William de Kooning and befriended out-of-the box thinkers like Duchamp and Warhol whose influence is evident in this loud, yet precise reduction of form. Dali’s technical emphasis does not lie in the quickness of brushstroke but rather in the deliberate use of color and composition.

It is this change in technical priority that makes this painting of Saint George unlike those of the painting masters. Dali is not necessarily concerned with accuracy of representation but rather with the impression the work leaves on the viewer—a truly modern concept. Also in contrast to other renderings of Saint George is the curious absence of the dragon in this piece. This is an obvious nod to the gravity of the impact of the work’s visual components, which reflects the boldness of the protagonist Saint George himself. This sort of fearless approach is resonated by the powerful stance and form of the horse he sits upon.

One of Dali’s greatest gifts was his ability to latch on to something that inspired him and consistently re-invent these motifs without crossing the line into redundancy. It is no wonder that Saint George became a figure that Dali admired and repeatedly looked to for inspiration. However, it is in his Dalinean Horses version of Saint George that we see true innovation. Its subject matter may be traditional, but much like the artist who produced it, it is in no way conservative.

Agony of Love- Salvador Dali

By Sabeeha Mirza of The Salvador Dali Society

Salvador Dalí

The Unicorn (The Agony of Love)

1978
Gouache, Watercolor and Pencil on Board

65.5cm by 49cm

Saint George and the Dragon

 

By the late 70’s Dali’s work became highly reflective. In the years following the purchase of the Castle of Pubol, which he gifted to his wife and muse Gala, Dali found himself without her more often than not. Gala spent increasingly prolonged amounts of time alone in her new home, leaving him with the time and space to reflect on their love and his life’s work. He was subsequently struck with the inspiration to consider his life and lessons learned, and thus began to write his memoirs with paintings.

This was the conclusionary period of Dali’s career in which we see the true marriage of Dali’s love of the “painting masters” and his fascination with dreams and the subconscious. In 1978 Dali produced an appropriately named series of gouache paintings titled Retrospective. Each of the four works included in the series is representative of a specific invaluable attribute of man’s experience as follows: The Lance of Chivalry (St. George), The Path to Wisdom (The Banker), The Flowering of Inspiration (Gala in Flowers), and lastly The Unicorn (Agony of Love).

The Unicorn (The Agony of Love) is a brilliant example of the melding of Dali’s fascination with mysticism and science, or rather fantasy and tradition. It is riddled with contradictions. It is both emotive and controlled. It is both heart- wrenching and balanced. Even the title itself provides an interesting dichotomy–indicative of the two-faced nature of love itself. This duality is further reflected through various technical devices.

Certain elements of the work are pulled from Dali’s rational side. The left- hand side of the work serves as a more 2-dimentional plane in direct in contrast to his attention to depth and high pigmentation on the right. Another example of his attention to the clever use of visual device is in the forced liner perspective provided by the vanishing lines of the foreground, which provide a depth of field. This same device is mimicked by the rays of the sun projected from the upper-left corner– giving the piece a sense of rhythm and harmony as it linearly reflects itself from the horizon line.

On the other hand, Dali dismisses reason and calls on the more fantastic side of his personality with the more whimsical, emotional elements of the work. The visual focus of the painting is a unicorn- figure with an elongated lance-like horn. The unicorn’s stance is deliberate and determined. Its horn spans across the width of the painting to pierce through a bleeding heart- shaped hole in a brick wall. Beyond the wall a single-beaded teardrop falls from the tip of the horn. While the body of the unicorn is mainly unpigmented, the horn seems to gain dimensionality as it stabs through the other side of the heart-wall. Perhaps Dali implies that the most complete part of oneself is that which has stabbed through a wall of difficulty and burden– all in the name of love. This allegory is further illustrated by the nude female figure in the foreground. She lays horizontally on the ground hiding her face in folded arms. The viewer becomes empathetically involved and is forced to consider her purpose: Has she fallen in despair? Is she asleep and dreaming of a love lost? This sense of understanding while simultaneously being utterly confused is the lure of Dali.

The Unicorn (The Agony of Love) proves that at heart Dali was a truly an artist of nostalgia and remembrance. It represents a full circle for Dali. He had dug his way from the rationality of the painting masters that he studied arduously as a student, through the impossible corners of his subconscious, back to a balanced medley of the two. For Dali, Surrealism became an extension of academic painting. Unlike any other artist he was able to maintain forward thinking while building upon the rationality of classical devices. Logical, sentimental, outrageous, and unpredictable. Salvador Dali’s The Unicorn (Agony of Love) reflects all sides of his multi-faceted personality. It is in this inescapable draw of the tug and pull of both hemispheres of the mind, reason and imagination, that Dali’s genius truly emerges.

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