Baby Dali. by Robert Hughes. Time, 7/4/94, Vol. 144 Issue 1, p68, 3p, 3c, 1bw HTML Full Text
Was any painter a worse embarrassment than Salvador Dali? Not even Andy Warhol. Long before his physical death in 1989, old Avida Dollars -- Andre Breton's anagram of his name -- had collapsed into wretched exhibitionism. Genius, Shocker, Lip-Topiarist: though he once turned down an American businessman's proposal to open a string of what would be called Dalicatessens, there was little else he refused to endorse, from chocolates to perfumes. He was surrounded by fakes and crooks and married to one of the greediest harpies in Europe: Gala, who made him the indentured servant of his lost talent even as he treated her as his muse.
Salvador Dali. The Persistance of Memory. 1931
oil on canvas 9"x13" MOMA
|Form: Oil on canvas.
Iconography: When compared to Rene Magrittes Time Transfixed, an important point about surrealism is made evident. Time is an ephemeral thing that cannot be pinned down. Time is a mechanical invention, one which we have Descartes to thank for, and in essence, time often does not make sense. Dali makes this point clear with the melting watches. Time is an internal dialogue, as people, we have all experienced the feeling that time is going by too quickly, and sometimes, such as when we are studying, writing essays, or doing research for an online textbook, time can seem to move too slowly. Ants are also a favorite of Dalis', and are a recurring theme in most of his paintings, as well as a film he did with Buñuel titled, Le Chien Andalou, in which at one point, a man observes ants as they crawl out of him through a hole in his palm. It can be assumed that Dali is commenting on the silliness of time, likening it to the seemingly pointless scurrying that we observe ants doing...written about this work on www.artchive.com "Over the next few years Dalí devoted himself with passionate intensity to developing his method, which he described as 'paranoiac-critical', a 'spontaneous method of irrational knowledge based on the critical and systematic objectivation of delirious associations and interpretations'. It enabled him to demonstrate his personal obsessions and fantasies by uncovering and meticulously fashioning hidden forms within pre-existing ones, either randomly selected (postcards, beach scenes, photographic enlargements) or of an accepted artistic canon (canvases by Millet, for example). It was at this period that he was producing works like The Lugubrious Game (1929), The Persistence of Memory (1931) and Surrealist Objects, Gauges of Instantaneous Memory (1932). Flaccid shapes, anamorphoses and double-sided figures producing a trompe-l'œil effect combine in these works to create an extraordinary universe where the erotic and the scatological jostle with a fascination for decay - a universe that is reflected in his other works of this period, including his symbolic objects and poems (La Femme visible, 1930; L'Amour et la mémoire, 1931) as well as the screenplay for L'Age d'Or (1930).
Context: "It soon became apparent, however, that there was an inherent
contradiction in Dalí's approach between what he himself described
as 'critical paranoia' - which lent itself to systematic interpretation
- and the element of automatism upon which his method depended. Breton
soon had misgivings about Dalí's monsters which only lend themselves
to a limited, univocal reading. Dalí's extreme statements on political
matters, in particular his fascination for Hitler, struck a false note
in the context of the Surrealist ethic and his relations with the rest
of the group became increasingly strained after 1934. The break finally
came when the painter declared his support for Franco in 1939. And yet
he could boast that he had the backing of Freud himself, who declared in
1938 that Dalí was the only interesting case in a movement whose
aims he confessed not to understand. Moreover, in the eyes of the public
he was, increasingly as time went by, the Surrealist par excellence, and
he did his utmost to maintain, by way of excessive exhibitionism in every
area, this enviable reputation."
Salvador Dali. Gala Angelus. 1935
|Form: Oil on canvas
Iconography: "Meeting Gala was, for Dali, a revelation and a terror. Here was the personification of all his fantasies, and yet his fear and loathing of erotic acts made it impossible for him to approach her. It was Gala who put an end to his torture by proposing a walk one day, during which Dali confessed his love. They eloped to Barcelona in 1929. Gala was to become a major influence in the work of Dali. She was to feature in many of his works, often surrounded by controversy. In The Sacrament of the Last Supper, Dali gave Christ the features of Gala, and in many pictures he portrayed her as the Madonna. On other occasions, she influenced some of his worse pieces, encouraging him to rush out pictures purely for financial gain. This was a contributing factor to Dali's expulsion from the surrealist movement." (www.bbc.co.uk)
Context: "His Rift with the Surrealists