Art of the 20th Century



 



Art Styles in 20th century Art Map



 

   

 

 

 

 



Salvador Dali




If You Act the Genius, You Will Be One! 1910-1928
The Proof of Love 1929-1935
The Conguest of the Irrational 1936-1939
The Triumph of Avida Dollars 1939-1946
The Mystical Manifesto 1946-1962
Paths to Immortality 1962-1989

_______

appendix

Illustrations:
Biblia Sacrata, Marquis de Sade, Faust, The Art of Love,
Don Quixote, Divine Comedy, Decameron,
Casanova, Les Caprices de Goya

 


 


 



 


The Triumph of Avida Dollars




1939-1946




 


The Independence of the Imagination

 

Immediately after I had broken my Bonwit-Teller window," Dali recalled in the Secret Life, looking back on the publicity-getting scandal, "I received an offer to do 'another one', entirely to my taste - a monumental one, that would not have to be broken, in the New York World Fair which was to open in another month and a half, and I signed a contract with a corporation, a contract which appeared to me unequivocally to guarantee my 'complete imaginative freedom'. This pavilion was to be called The Dream of Venus, but in reality is was a frightful nightmare, for after some time I realized that the corporation in question intended to make The Dream of Venus with its own imagination, and that what it wanted of me was my name, which had become dazzling from the publicity point of view. [...] Realizing that the explanations and the letters of protest that my secretary typed every evening to the point of exhaustion were becoming more and more ineffective, I told him to stop all these explanations, and to buy me a large pair of scissors. I appeared the following morning in the workshop where The Dream of Venus was being set up. My contract granted me the supreme right of supervision, and I was going to use and abuse this right with the challenging force of my scissors. The first thing I did was to cut open, one after another, the dozen sirens' tails intended for the swimming girls, thus making them totally unusable. [...] Resigned, they agreed to do whatever my royal will commanded them. But my struggles were not over, for sabotage was about to begin. They did 'approximately' what I ordered, but so badly and with such bad faith that the pavilion turned out to be a lamentable caricature of my ideas and of my projects. I published on this subject a manifesto: Declaration of the Independence of the Imagination and of the Rights of Man to His Own Madness."

 


The Dream of Venus
1939

 


First page of Dali's "Declaration of the Independence of the Imagination and the Rights of Man to His Own Madness"

This Declaration began with the capital letters of Dali's frustration, in parody of the American Declaration of Independence: "WHEN, IN THE COURSE OF HUMAN CULTURE IT BECOMES NECESSARY FOR A PEOPLE TO DESTROY THE INTELLECTUAL BONDS THAT UNITE THEM WITH THE LOGICAL SYSTEMS OF THE PAST, IN ORDER TO CREATE FOR THEMSELVES AN ORIGINAL MYTHOLOGY [...]" - a distinctively Dalinian project, surely.

Dali went on to give an account of his difficulties with The Dream of Venus, invitations to the launch of which had already been sent out: "The committee responsible for the Amusement Area of the World's Fair has forbidden me to erect on the exterior of 'The Dream of Venus' the image of a woman "with the head of a fish. These are their exact words: 'A woman with the head of a fish is impossible.' This decision on the part of the committee seems to me an extremely grave one [...] because we are concerned here "with the negation of a right that is of an order purely poetic, and imaginative, attacking no moral or political consideration. I have always believed that the first man who had the idea of terminating a woman's body with the tail of a fish must have been a pretty fair poet, but I am equally certain that the second man who repeated the idea was nothing but a bureaucrat. In any case the inventor of the first siren's tail would have had my difficulties with the committee of the Amusement Area. Had there been similar committees in Immortal Greece, fantasy would have been banned and, what is worse, the Greeks would never have created their sensational and truculently Surrealist mythology, in which, if it is true that there exists no woman with the head of a fish (as far as I know) there figures indisputably a Minotaur bearing the terribly realistic head of a bull."
 



Invitation to the opening of the "Dream of Venus".
The opening was in fact postponed to 15 June 1939




Interior of the "Dream of Venus"
Pavilion, 1939


Masked Mermaid in Black
1939

 





Woman dressed as a piano, from the "Dream of Venus", 1939


The "Dream of Venus" Pavilion, 1939
 


The Sirens from the "Dream of Venus", 1939

 


Costume for the "Dream of Venus", 1939
Photo by H.P. Horst


Dali and Gala filming the "Dream of Venus"in the Murray Korman Studiosin New York, 1939
Photograph: George Platt Lyne

 

 

What Dali objected to was the bureaucratic opposition to originality: "Any authentically original idea, presenting itself without 'known antecedents', is systematically rejected, toned down, mauled, chewed, rechewed, spewed forth, destroyed, yes, and even "worse — reduced to the most monstrous of mediocrities. The excuse offered is always the vulgarity of the vast majority of the public. I insist that this is absolutely false. The public is infinitely superior to the rubbish that is fed to it daily. The masses have always known where to find true poetry. The misunderstanding has come about entirely through those 'middlemen of culture' who, with their lofty airs and superior quackings, come between the creator and the public."

Dali, returning to capitals, launched an impassioned appeal to his American fellows: "ARTISTS AND POETS OF AMERICA! IF YOU WISH TO RECOVER THE SACRED SOURCE OF YOUR OWN MYTHOLOGY AND YOUR OWN INSPIRATION, THE TIME HAS COME TO REUNITE YOURSELVES WITHIN THE HISTORIC BOWELS OF YOUR PHILADELPHIA, TO RING ONCE MORE THE SYMBOLIC BELL OF YOUR IMAGINATIVE INDEPENDENCE, AND, HOLDING ALOFT IN ONE HAND FRANKLIN'S LIGHTNING ROD, AND IN THE OTHER LAU-TREAMONT'S UMBRELLA, TO DEFY THE STORM OF OBSCURANTISM THAT IS THREATENING YOUR COUNTRY! LOOSE THE BLINDING LIGHTNING OF YOUR ANGER AND THE AVENGING THUNDER OF YOUR PARANOIAC INSPIRATION!"


 





Bacchanale
1939

 


Sirens and Graces - Set Design for Dali's "Bacchanale"
1939

 


Set for "Bacchanale"
1939

 


Nathale Krassovska and Andre Eglevsky rehearsing "Bacchanale", 1939

Drawing for "Bacchanale"
1939

 

Ballet scenes from "Bacchanale" with the Ballets Russes at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York. The design, set and costumes were by Dali.
Photos from the "Ne4w York Times, 19 November 1939
 


Study for a Ballet Backdrop
1939


Set of "Tristan and Isolde"
1941

 


Temple - Sketch for a Set Design
1941

 

 

Dali went on: "Only the violence and duration of your hardened dream can resist the hideous mechanical civilization that is your enemy, that is also the enemy of the 'pleasure-principle' of all men. It is man's right to love women with the ecstatic heads of fish. It is man's right to decide that lukewarm telephones are disgusting, and to demand telephones that are as cold, green and aphrodisiac as the augur-troubled sleep of the canhandes. Telephones as barbarous as bottles will free themselves of the lukewarm ornamentation of Louis XV spoons and will slowly cover with glacial shame the hybrid decors of our suavely degraded decadence [...]"

And, finally reverting one more time to capitals: "ONE THING IS CERTAIN, A CATALAN, CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS, DISCOVERED AMERICA, AND ANOTHER CATALAN, SALVADOR DALI, HAS JUST REDISCOVERED CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS. NEW YORK: YOU

WHO ARE LIKE THE VERY STALK OF THE AIR, THE HALF CUT FLOWER OF HEAVEN! YOU, MAD AS THE MOON, NEW YORK! [...] YOU MAY WELL BE PROUD. BE PROUD. I GO AND I ARRIVE. I LOVE YOU WITH ALL MY HEART."

 


Daddy Longlegs of the Evening... Hope!
1940

 


Family of Marsupial Centaurs
1940

 


Centaur (The Triumph of Nautilus)
1940

 


Group of Women Imitating the Gestures of a Schooner
1940

 


Old Age, Adolescence, Infancy (The Three Ages)
1940

 


Slave Market with the Disappearing Bust of Voltaire
1940

 


Invisible Bust of Voltaire
1941


Study for Slave Market with the Appearance of the Invisible Bust of Voltaire
1941

 


Arches with Fruit Bowl.
Study for Slave Market with the Appearance
of the Invisible Bust of Voltair
1940


 

Perforated House with Fruit Bowl.
Study for Slave Market with the Appearance
of the Invisible Bust of Voltaire
1940

 

Costume for a Nude with a Codfish Tail
1941

 

Honey is Sweeter than Blood
1941
 

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