The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by Nicolas Descharnes.
Maria Adela 'Tota' Atucha, Condesa de Cuevas de Vera, Buenos Aires (acquired from the artist)
Thence by descent to the present owners
In the early 1930s Dalí executed a number of ink and pencil drawings on the subject of Gradiva, including several erotic drawings in which the female figure bears a strong resemblance to his treatment of the mythical figure. In some of the drawings she is depicted entirely in the nude, sometimes seen from the back and holding a skull in her hand. The present composition is the most closely related to the 1931 oil Gradiva (see previous lot; fig. 1) and was certainly used by Dalí as a direct preparatory study for the oil. While some of the lines are drawn in ink and pencil, others are simply scratched into the paper, suggesting that the artist may have used it to transfer the composition onto the copper plate on which the oil was painted. In this study Dalí has also included a male nude figure, seen reclined against the rock. This figure - probably Narcissus - is absent from the oil, which focuses entirely on the image of Gradiva and the rocks and water surrounding her.