Dali Prints -Nobility of Time

7

Oct
2013

Posted by: PaulChimera

Sculpture

96 Nobility of time

 

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.)

 

Salvador Dali was once referred to by one author as the “limp watchman of surrealism.” Clearly Dali will always and forever be most associated with his iconic melting or soft watches and clocks.

 

A sculpture such as “Nobility of Time,” then, becomes coveted by collectors and connoisseurs of Dali’s 3-D works, especially since it places the immortal Dalinian watch so prominently in the design. Like all of us, Dali saw time running out; from the moment of our birth, we’re dying. We’re here for a finite, limited time. And the anguish of time is ever-present, as the minutes, hours, days, months and years slip-side away (to borrow a phrase from singer Paul Simon).

 

In “Nobility of Time,” a crown tops the watch, elevating its regal, royal, imperial importance in our lives, while the tree trunk that supports it sprouts new life and its roots latch onto a rock. An angel appears, deep in thought, and a female nude is attractively draped in a long piece of garment that itself might suggest the floppy clocks that have defined the life and art of Dali since 1931. That, of course, was the year he painted “The Persistence of Memory” – certainly thought of by some as perhaps the most famous painting….ever.

 

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Dali Prints – Homage to Terpischore

4

Oct
2013

Posted by: PaulChimera

Sculpture

95 homage to terpischore

 

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.)

 

Salvador Dali had a great way of expressing his interpretation of human movement – especially so in sports applications (baseball players in one painting; a series of sports prints showing football, golf and other events) – and most certainly in dance.

 

Here, in his “Homage to Terpischore” sculpture, Dali pays tribute to one of the nine muses from Greek mythology – this one ruling over dance and the dramatic chorus. The one, more classically defined dancer is smooth and refined, while its essentially reflected figure now becomes symbolic of more modern dance. The future growth and new direction of dance may be represented by the new growth of branches emerging from it.

 

Dali’s widely divergent creative sense gave us certain figures – whether three-dimensionally, as we see in this sculpture, or in paintings and drawings – that had a lithe and allegorical flow and classicism to them. They hark back to figures seen in some of the great masters’ works, including DaVinci and Raphael, who were endlessly inspirational to the master surrealist.

 

By the same token, Dali would also portray a more angular, modernist view of the human form, such as the gold-colored figure in the present sculpted work. The two images here complement each other and convey a lyrical whimsy that is so fitting with the subject at hand.

 

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Dali Prints – Space Venus

1

Oct
2013

Posted by: PaulChimera

Sculpture

94 space venus

 

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.)

 

As it did in the medium of prints, “Space Venus” presents us with one of Salvador Dali’s most seemingly bizarre images – and we can’t take our eyes off of it!

 

This tantalizing, curiously seductive sculpture in green patina features Venus, the goddess of beauty – a subject that is central to two other iconic works: Dali’s Venus de Milo in Drawers sculpture, and his masterful oil painting, “The Hallucinogenic Toreador.”

 

In the present “Space Venus” sculpture, we might interpret Venus’s divided torso as symbolic of the fragile nature of beauty. Similarly, the soft watch oozing off her neck perhaps represents the transient nature of beauty and the flesh, while the hard permanence of the rest of the sculpted body might reflect the more enduring aspects of great art, which transcends time.

 

The egg is a popular element in various Dali works, generally symbolizing life and the creative spirit.

 

And finally, the ants are reminders of our mortality and impermanence – subjects with which Dali was preoccupied – no, make that obsessed – virtually all his life.

 

“Space Venus” is a supreme example of not just surrealism, but Dalinian surrealism!

 

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Dali Prints – Space Elephant

29

Sep
2013

Posted by: PaulChimera

Sculpture
93SculptureSpaceElephant
 

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.)

 

You’ve got to love the simple magic of a lot of Salvador Dali’s works!

 

Here, the master of surrealism takes the heaviest land animal known to man, puts an obelisk on its back – a symbol of power and perhaps a phallic symbol as well – and impossibly supports it all on spindly giraffe legs!

 

Thus, the impossibility of this ascending elephant – somehow rising above the incongruity of that kind of weight supported by rail-thin, skyscraper-tall legs – is what gives “Space Elephant” such charm and visual appeal.

 

Certainly this works harks back to a famous 1940s canvas by Dali, “The Temptation of St. Anthony,” in which similarly impossible pachyderms nevertheless strutted through the scene as if they were really there – thanks to Dali’s photographic technical skill as a painter.

 

If nothing else, this eye-catching and beautifully executed scupture underscores Dali’s irrepressible love of paradox, ambiguity, and opposites. Putting a multi-ton elephant on giraffe legs (or are they the limbs of a flamingo?) is a contradiction that suited Dali to a T!

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Dali Prints – St. George and the Dragon

28

Sep
2013

Posted by: PaulChimera

Sculpture

 

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.)

 

The three-dimensionality of the medium of sculpture often can bring a subject to life the way a flat drawing or painting cannot. And some subjects just seem to lend themselves better to sculptural representation.

 

I think that applies interestingly to Dali’s “St. George and the Dragon.” He tackled the legend in many works in ink and oil, but here in 3-D we get to really appreciate the saint’s iconic battle against heresy and evil. St. George was the celebrated saint of chivalry through Medieval Europe, and you cannot help but wonder if Dali didn’t fancy this as a kind of self-portrait! Not unlike the many depictions Dali did of Don Quixote, another hero to whom the Catalan artist surely related.

 

A kind of surreal muse appears in the tableau as well, while the dragon’s wings seem to morph into flames, while his tongue resembles a Dalinian crutch.

 

Dali was a master at taking legendary stories, portraying them with certain customary details, but always infusing the final work with his own special surrealist touches that make a work by Salvador Dali unmistakably a Dali!

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Dali Prints -Homage to Newton

27

Sep
2013

Posted by: PaulChimera

Sculpture

 

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.)

 

Dali pays homage to the man credited with discovering the law of gravity, inspired, as well all know, by an apple falling on his head. Salvador Dali was fascinated by science all his life; his inquisitive mind seized upon new discoveries all the time. But he also chose to pay tribute to great minds before him, be they Renaissance painters like Raphael, or icons of science, such as Newton.

 

In this highly unique sculpture, “Homage to Newton,” the iconic Newtonian apple hangs on a string, solid and permanent. Most curiously, of course, are the holes through what would normally be the visage and body of Newton – seeming to strip him of any sense of personality or individuality.

 

Then again, might it be Dali’s inimitable way of suggesting that it wasn’t so much the man who should be remembered as it is the spirit in which his discovery was made? As well as the timeless nature of the discovery itself? Maybe such Dalinian holes – representations of apparent nothingness – are actually a more ultimate homage to the mystery of the man, for what did we really know of Newton, beyond the obvious?

 

What we know of Dali is aided best through his own words on any given subject. In his fantastic book, “50 Secrets of Magic Craftsmanship,” check out what the Master wrote: “Now remember that the gravity of the Earth was already in the apple that was held in the hand of Eve, like a veritable Damocles sword suspended over the human species. Don’t doubt that this apple of Eve is the same one that, by falling on Newton’s forehead, permitted him to discover the physical laws of force of the same gravity.”

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Dali Prints – Vision of the Angel

25

Sep
2013

Posted by: PaulChimera

Sculpture
90SculptureVisionoftheAngel
 

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.)

 

We all know the importance of the thumb to the human hand; it’s inconceivable to imagine functioning effectively without it. The thumb was also important to Salvador Dali, as is true with most artists. After all, isn’t the tradition to hold up one’s thumb, squint an eye, then contemplate how a painting under development is shaping up?

 

Oh, but in Dali’s surreal world, the thumb goes far further in function. It has long been held to have religious connotations – a representation of strength and supremacy of God, creator of life. Thus, the branches growing from the thumb in “Vision of the Angel.” The angel, of course, symbolizes spirituality and a kind of meditative mood, while a man stands as the embodiment of vitality and things earthily and grounded.

 

Angels have been a prominent element in countless works by Dali, from sculpture to drawings, watercolors to oil paintings – even props for some of his flamboyant exhibitions, such as when he had a young boy and girl dressed in white with angel wings appear with him when he unveiled one of his graphics suites to the public. In Dali’s art, angels often borrowed the features of his beloved wife Gala, all ultimately connoting a sense of purity and nobility.

 

Death, immortality, and the anticipated celestial and heavenly world have all preoccupied the fertile mind of Dali, practically since he was old enough to pick up a paint brush!

 

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Dali Prints – Persistence of Memory

22

Sep
2013

Posted by: PaulChimera

Sculpture

The Persistence of Memory
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.

 

Eureka! Your Salvador Dali Society, Inc. blogger has suddenly come up with an entirely new interpretation of Dali’s iconic and immortal “soft watch!” This is a historical moment, so hold onto your surreal seats, dear readers, as I don’t know – as a Dali historian and writer, who’s studied the artist’s work and life for more than 45 years – if this interpretation has ever quite been stated before:

 

The dripping, melting watch suggest that time is running out!

 

Like an ice cube, let’s say, that drips, drips, drips to oblivion, so too does the reality of life mean that, with every ticking second, time is running out. Life is running out. Our time here is finite, short, precious, ever-changing, ever-shortening!

 

And, of course, interpretation gets supplanted by fact when we consider this: Salvador Dali’s soft watch motif has made for not only his most universally famous painting, “The Persistence of Memory” of 1931, but also arguably the single most famous work of art of the entire 20th century.

 

So here, a single watch, flopped over a tree branch…dripping…melting…forms the basis for one of Salvador Dali’s most important sculptural pieces. DaVinci had his Mona Lisa. Warhol had his soup cans. Dali – his remarkable watches. Said Dali: Hard or soft, the principal thing is that the watch gives the exact time.”

 

Astonishing fact: Dali didn’t wear a watch. Not only did he not need to know himself what time it was – he had others to depend on for that – but it may be entirely true that he didn’t quite know how to tell time! Just as he had no real concept of what a particular denomination of money was worth.

 

Such is the unique life of geniuses.

 

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Dali Prints – The Bird Man

18

Sep
2013

Posted by: PaulChimera

Sculpture

88

 

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.

 

Is it a bird? Is it a man? What we know for sure is that it’s a Dali!

 

Actually, the strange pairing of a man’s body and bird’s head isn’t at all unheard of. In fact, the theme comes from antiquity. According to the esteemed Dali scholar and writer Robert Descharnes, this bird man concept appeared in ancient Egypt “as Horus, a god with a man’s body and the head of a falcon.”

 

Various artists, including the Spanish painter Pablo Picasso and the German sculptor Arno Breker, produced works based on this theme.

 

As Descharnes points out, “Having undergone a profusion of successive interpretations, the model became a kitschy image to which Dali, as a ‘promoter of kitsch,’ could not remain oblivious.”

 

While what Descharnes says is true, I would take this a step further and raise the issue of “Dalinian Continuity.” This is where Dali deliberately set out to weave certain themes through his work and through the years and decades. In this case, I don’t think it’s much of a leap to recall Dali’s 1939 World’s Fair pavilion, in which he made the then-shocking switch and put the head of a fish on a woman’s body – completely flip-flopping the apparently more “acceptable” move by Botticelli, who had given an otherwise normal figure of a woman a fish’s tail!

 

It all adds up to surrealism in general and Salvador Dali in particular. With Dali – like that Forest Gump box of chocolates – you never quite know what you’re going to get! And that accounted for so much of the artist’s appeal, charm, and collectability.

 

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Dali Prints – Alice in Wonderland Sculpture

16

Sep
2013

Posted by: PaulChimera

Sculpture

87

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.

 

One remarkable thing about Salvador Dali’s artistic talent is that the Catalan Surrealist master could do wonders with any subject – whether the execution of the work was complex and multi-layered, or whether it was a case of less being more.

 

In the case of this dashing sculpture, I think it’s the latter: in a simple, streamlined, less-is-more fashion, Dali has created a really lovely piece, with clean lines and the surrealist touch that makes a Dali a Dali.

 

Dali portrays the happy go lucky, rope-skipping Alice from “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” which of course he famously illustrated in a dazzling portfolio of prints.

 

Dali was almost always obsessively looking for opportunities to achieve and demonstrate double-imagery. Optical illusion always fascinated him; I’m certain that had he not chosen art as a profession, he would have become a magician! In this case, the girl skipping rope also doubles, without changing anything about her, as the shape of a bell in a bell tower – oft-seen sites for the young Dali growing up in the northeastern part of Spain. That double-image of a girl jumping rope and a bell tower can be found in numerous Dali’s pictures, including, to name just one, “Surburbs of a Paranoiac-Critical Town, Afternoon on the Outskirts of European History” (1936).

 

It is also known that Dali greatly admired his sister, a couple years his junior, whom he’d often see jumping rope. Alice’s head of flowers is a kind of surrealist prop and an image found in a good number of Dali’s surrealist canvases of the 1930s.

 

It’s also interesting to note that the crutch seen in this sculpture – a frequently seen prop in countless Dali works, often symbolizing the decadence of modern society – shares the same basic structure as Alice’s torso and upraised arms

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