The crowning glory of this ensemble of thirty-nine jewels, which Dalí created between 1941 and 1970, is undoubtedly The Eye of Time. Originally conceived in 1949 as a gift for his wife Gala, The Eye of Time plays on the themes and myths that obsessed the artist’s thoughts and incorporates two of the most iconic Dalí symbols: the eye and the clock. Surrounded by rows of pavé-set diamonds and set in platinum with a cabochon ruby, the eye's pupil is made of three shades of blue enamel and brilliantly doubles as the face of a working Movado movement.
In 1949, the Philadelphia banker and philanthropist Cummins Catherwood and his wife Ellengowen acquired twenty-two pieces of jewelry directly from the artist, reviewing his paper sketches of the works before their execution in diamond, platinum and precious gems. The Catherwoods were friends of the artist Rudolgph von Ripper, a collaborator of of the Argentinian jeweler Carlos Alemany, whom Dalí entrusted the making of the limited number of these pieces under the artist's strict observation. The Catherwoods displayed their collection of Dalí in their living room in their Haverford, Pennsylvania mansion where they later received the artist for a visit. They also lent these important jewels all over the world to various educational and cultural organizations.
In 1958, these twenty-two works from the Catherwood jewelry collection were acquired by the Owen Cheatham Foundation. There was, however, one piece that Mrs. Catherwood was unable to fully part with: The Eye of Time. When she requested that Dalí make her an example of the beloved brooch she could keep, created entirely under his guidance, he gladly complied, resulting in the creation of the present work.
There are four known examples of The Eye of Time, including one sold by Sotheby's on May 8, 2014 for $1,055,000, another which is in a prominent European Royal collection, one which was formerly in the collection of The Owen Cheatham Foundation and which is now on permanent display at the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí in Figueres, and finally the present work.
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