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Modern Masters Spotlight - Salvador Dali

 

Salvador Dali will be the subject of a major exhibition at the Royal Academy in October this year exploring his artistic relationship with Marcel Duchamp, the father of conceptual art. In anticipation of this groundbreaking show we are delighted to announce that we have recently acquired the complete set of Dali’s Retrospective, a portfolio of four lithographs published in 1978, each numbered and signed in pencil by Salvador Dali.

The portfolio includes ‘The Flowering of Inspiration’ (Gala en fleurs), a stunning image after the original watercolour painted in 1978. At the centre of the composition stands the sensuous figure of one of Dalí’s flower-headed women. This figure is among the artist’s most memorable characters, appearing in a number of significant compositions throughout his oeuvre including Femme à la tête de roses and Femmes aux têtes de fleurs retrouvant sur la plage la dépouille d’un piano à queue of 1936. Dalí brought this striking image to life in a collaboration with the artist Sheila Legge staged at the Burlington Galleries in London for the 1936 International Surrealist Exhibition. Time magazine reported that the, "[h]ighlight of the exhibition was artist Salvador Dali's living design, Phantom of Sex Appeal, for which artist Sheila Legge solemnly glided through the crowded, stuffy gallery in a tight white satin gown, her head in a wire cage covered with pink paper rosebuds" (quoted in "Art: Phantom," 29 June 1936). A photograph of Legge wearing this mask of flowers on Trafalgar Square was used for the cover of the Surrealist Bulletin in 1936.

The Flowering of Inspiration (Gala en fleurs), portrays a curvaceous phantom-like woman clothed in a loosely draped gown, her head replaced by a bouquet of bright blooms. The title of the work The Flowering of Inspiration, or alternatively, Gala en fleurs, reveals that the identity of this figure is the artist's wife and muse, Gala. The image has a still, dream-like atmosphere, as if we are viewing a moment taken directly from Dali’s unconscious. Dreams were of course vital to Dali’s practice. The Milanese critic Franco Passoni remarked that for Dalí “painting is an adventure into dream and can exist and represent itself only in this form" (quoted in "Dalí in the Third Dimension," Dalí Sculptor, Dalí Illustrator, exh. cat., The Stratton Foundation, Milan, 1989, p. 108).

To view our selection of artwork by Salvador Dali please contact a Clarendon Fine Art gallery.