The idea for this work began when Salvador Dalí discovered an inkwell illustrated with the praying couple (from Jean-Francois Millet’s painting The Angelus, 1857–59). He embedded the inkwell in a loaf of bread and placed them both on the portrait bust of a woman.
In 1931, Dalí described Surrealist sculpture as “created wholly for the purpose of materializing in a fetishistic way, with maximum tangible reality, ideas and fantasies of a delirious character.” Retrospective Bust of a Woman (1933) not only presents a woman as an object, but explicitly as one to be consumed. A baguette crowns her head, cobs of corn dangle around her neck, and ants swarm along her forehead as if gathering crumbs. Ants, of course, are a common reoccurring motif in Dali’s work.
This illuminated diorama-like construction contains eleven, parallel painted-glass panels. Both pictorial illusion and actual depth produce a sense of receding space, from the proscenium arch of the front panel to the sky on the furthest, with various bizarre objects, figures and scenarios sandwiched in- between.
This unusual work may have been Dali’s attempt to recreate “a large, square box” he had seen as a boy: “It was a kind of optical theater, which provided me with the greatest measure of illusion of my childhood. I have never been able to determine or reconstruct in my mind exactly what art was like.
Salvador Dali’s The Little Theater (1934) Was Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.
The first of dozens of boxes Joseph Cornell made in honor of famous ballerinas, Taglioni’s Jewel Casket (year) pays homage to Marie Taglioni, an acclaimed 19th-century Italian dancer. According to legend, Taglioni kept an imitation ice cube in her jewelry box to commemorate dancing in the snow at the behest of a Russian highwayman (a traveling thief). The box is infused with erotic undertones — both in the tactile nature of the materials (glass cubes, velvet, and a rhinestone necklace purchased at a Woolworth’s dime store in New York) and in the incident itself, in which Taglioni reportedly performed on an animal skin placed across the snowy road.
Although he spent his entire artistic career living and working in Queens, New York, Cornell drew inspiration from the European art he saw at the Julien Levy Gallery — the first in the United States to exhibit Surrealist work — and he often inspired the European Surrealists in turn. In a press release for a 1939 exhibition of Cornell’s work at the Levy Gallery, Salvador Dalí heralded it as “the only truly Surrealist work to be found in America.”
Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
The iconic Bocca Sofa (also unofficially known an the Lips Sofa) was created by the radical Italian design team Studio 65 for the famed Italian manufacturers Gufram back in 1972. Based on an original design by none other than Surrealist Salvador Dali, who took Mae West as his inspiration, Studio 65 looked to that other iconic beauty, Marilyn Monroe, to create this famous sofa. Both Studio 65 and Gufram are known for being places where the art world and design world collided, and their kaleidoscopic fusion of pop art, conceptual art and modernist design reached their zenith with this piece.
The voluptuous Bocca Sofa has gone down as a design classic, the perfect blend of playfulness and serious design. It goes without saying that it’s a statement piece, as this sofa would dominate the design scheme of any living room. At a sizable 83 inches in width, the Bocca will comfortably seat three and, despite its artsy background, it retains excellent functionality, being both extremely comfortable and coated with easy to clean polyurethane, while an inner frame of chromium plated steel lends solidity and quality. A guaranteed conversation starter, this is a sofa that expresses a bold personality through its design. (Source)
Photographed at R & Company, Located at 64 White Street, NYC.
One of Surrealism’s most important patrons, Edward James, was a willing collaborator whose sense of play initiated commissions for his homes from such artists as Salvador Dali and Leonora Carrington. James was impressed with the work of Rene Magritte, which was displayed in the 1936 International Surrealist Exhibition in London, so he invited the artist to paint three decorative canvases for the ballroom of his London home. Magritte painted On The Threshold of Liberty during his stay there in 1937, as the centerpiece of the three works. Originally set behind two-way mirrors, the works would become visible when James changed the lighting, provoking what he called “a profound sensation.”
Salvador Dalí utilized his theory of “nuclear mysticism,” a fusion of Catholicism, mathematics, and science, to create this unusual interpretation of Christ’s crucifixion. Levitating before a hypercube — a geometric, multidimensional form — Christ’s body is healthy, athletic, and bears no signs of torture; the crown of thorns and nails are missing.
The artist’s wife, Gala, poses as a devotional figure, witnessing Christ’s spiritual triumph over corporeal harm. Several dreamlike elements from Dali’s earlier Surrealist work feature in this painting: a levitating figure, vast barren landscape, and a chessboard.
Painted in 1954, Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus) By Salvador Dali is part of the permanent collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
Elastic Shapes with Dali-esque shadows litter Tanguy’s landscape, like the paradoxical meeting of unrelated materials in the painting’s title. According to the poet, John Ashbery, the self-taught artist chose titles arbitrarily, sometimes asking friends for suggestions.
Painted in 1940, The Satin Tuning Fork is part of the permanent collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.