New York Central Park Winter
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.
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For more information and pricing contact: Joseph Nuzzolo, 888-888-DALI (3254)