The authenticity of this work has been kindly confirmed by Robert Descharnes.
Private Collection, United States (acquired from the artist)
Private Collection, Europe (sold: Christie's, London, February 6, 2007, lot 140)
Acquired at the above sale
Le Voyage fantastique, Dalí's sprawling, mixed-media montage, encapsulates the optic mania of the artist's 1960s 'pop-art' period. This extravagant picture was the first image the artist produced following his appointment as artistic director of 20th Century Fox's science-fiction blockbuster, Fantastic Voyage, and it would appear in publicity material for the film upon its release in 1966. The large pixellated image on the right is inspired by the film's star, Raquel Welch, who appeared with Dalí in several promotional campaigns for the film.
When he completed this work in 1965, Dalí was living in New York in the St. Regis Hotel, when a film he made with Andy Warhol encouraged him to develop new methods for expressing the psychedelic imagery for which he was renowned. Le Voyage fantastique presents us with Dalí's own version of the avant-garde trends of the era, but with distinctly self-referential qualities. As is the case with the artist's most inspired compositions, this picture incorporates an amalgam of art historical references, from Leonardo's Vetruvian Man, to Roy Lichenstein's own raster dot paintings, to Dalí's facial features on the visage of the man.
Dalí's well-known collaborations with the film industry resulted in some of the most visually spectacular films of the twentieth century, from the hallucinatory imagery in Walt Disney's Destino, to the feverish dream sequences in Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound. For Le Voyage fantastique, Dalí derived his aesthetic from the film's premise: a group of pioneering doctors, reduced to molecular size, are sent on a life-saving mission inside the body of a dying man. The agglutinating cellular-dot particles and network of vascular red brushstrokes in Dalí's picture evoke the climactic scenes of the film, when the scientists are injected in the skull of the patient and sent hurling through the currents of the circulatory system.
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