335
335

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION, LA JOLLA

Salvador Dalí
LA NOBLESSE DU TEMPS, PERSISTANCE DE LA MÉMOIRE, CONNU AUSSI COMME "STILLNESS OF TIME"
Estimate
400,000600,000
LOT SOLD. 752,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
335

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION, LA JOLLA

Salvador Dalí
LA NOBLESSE DU TEMPS, PERSISTANCE DE LA MÉMOIRE, CONNU AUSSI COMME "STILLNESS OF TIME"
Estimate
400,000600,000
LOT SOLD. 752,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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Salvador Dalí
1904 - 1989
LA NOBLESSE DU TEMPS, PERSISTANCE DE LA MÉMOIRE, CONNU AUSSI COMME "STILLNESS OF TIME"
Signed GDalí and dated 1975 (lower right)
Oil and gouache on card
28 3/4 by 20 1/8 in.
73 by 51.1 cm
Executed in 1975.
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Robert and Nicolas Descharnes have kindly confirmed the authenticity of this work.

Provenance

DALART Collection, Dutch Antilles
Collection Ginkobiloka, Barcelona
Collection Theillaumas, Monaco

Catalogue Note

The primary version of The Persistence of Memory (see fig. 1) is perhaps Salvador Dalí’s most iconic image and is inextricably linked with the psychological angst and visual incongruities that define Surrealism. Since it was first exhibited at the Galerie Pierre Colle in Paris and later to great fanfare at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York in 1932, the motif of the melting clock has become widely integrated and frequently referenced in popular culture. As one of the leading members of the Surrealist Group, Dalí never confined his artistic compositions to the limitations of the rational world and often remarked that even he did not have the slightest idea what his own paintings meant. Like the visually-charged works of Pieter Brueghel (see fig. 2) and Hieronymous Bosch, Dalí’s iconography largely addresses coitus, death and spirituality. In keeping with the Dutch masters who inspired him, Dalí delights in placing his subjects in fantastical settings. 

Dalí has imbued the present work, executed in 1975, with elements he depicted during his own lifelong obsession with sex and the fleeting passage of time. With the bravura of an Old Master draftsman, Dalí delineates with great flourish the figures flanking the limp timepiece. Sensuously rendered, Venus stands at left holding a mirror, an attribute for vanity and lust.  She is self-absorbed and seemingly unaware that she is entangled in Vulcan’s net. At right sits an angel, a divine messenger of life and death, in contemplation before the keeper of time in our waking state. In the dream state, however, the watch or clock is no longer relevant; our reality has morphed the distortion of time and memories become obfuscated. 

Unlike Albert Einstein, whose explanation of space-time was given in a mathematical equation, the artist responded to questions about the significance of the soft-clock motif by calling for more questions than the desired answer, “Rest assured, the famous soft clocks are merely the soft, crazy, lonely, paranoid-critical Camembert of time and space” (Dalí, Conquest of the Irrational, New York, 1935).

The title of the work relates to Gala’s response when Dalí asked her whether in three years time she would have forgotten the painting. She replied, “no one can forget it once he has seen it” (Paul Moorhouse, Dalí, London, 1990, p. 49). 

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