André Breton & Paul Eluard, Dictionnaire abrégé du Surréalisme, Paris, 1938, illustrated p. 61
Robert Descharnes & Gilles Néret, Salvador Dalí, L'Oeuvre peint, Cologne, 1993, vol. I, no. 652, illustrated p. 293 ; vol. II, catalogued p. 757
Gala-Salvador Dalí Fundation, Salvador Dalí Catalogue raisonné, no. 458, illustrated online at www.salvador-dali.org
The shadow of the Spanish Civil War extends over Dalí's surreal dreamscape in Girafe en feu. Painted the year after the war broke out in 1936, the present work is from a series depicting a burning giraffe, including Girafe en feu in the Kunstmuseum, Basel and Inventions of Monsters in the Art Institute of Chicago. Dalí described his image of the burning giraffe as "the masculine cosmic apocalyptic monster" that was a premonition of war and the chaos that he feared would soon engulf Europe. But the image also had more light-hearted symbolism, as it was featured in a film project with the Marx Brothers called Giraffes on Horseback Salad. Dalí once explained why he thought the giraffe was an appropriate choice of this project: "Slapstick humour. How could that better be expressed than by these giraffes with their burning necks." (quoted in M. Taylor, "Giraffes on Horseback Salad," Dalí & Film (exhibition catalogue), Tate Museum, London, 2007, p. 143).
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