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Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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Salvador Dalí
1904 - 1989
LA PIETÀ
signed Dalí several times (along the lower edge)
watercolour, felt-tip pen and oil on paper laid down on canvas
104 by 153.5cm., 41 by 60 3/8 in.
Executed in 1973.
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The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by Robert & Nicolas Descharnes.

Provenance

Jacques Carpentier, Switzerland
Silver State Fine Art, Los Angeles
Private Collection (acquired from the above in 2000)
Del Mintz Collection (by descent from the above; sale: Christie's, New York, 7th November 2008, lot 612)
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner

Catalogue Note

Imbued with a multiplicity of iconic Dalinien symbols, La Pietà was originally conceived as a design for a stained-glass ceiling in the Teatro-Museo Dalí in Figueras. As the focal point of the composition Dalí has included an exquisitely delineated rendering of the Pietà – the Madonna mourning the figure of Jesus – in an almost identical pose to Michelangelo’s celebrated marble realisation of the scene. As a devout Catholic the subject of the Pietà was of paramount importance for Dalí, recurring as a theme of great significance in his work throughout his life.

Amidst the brilliantly coloured background of the present work, the masculine face at the centre of the image represents the Serenity of Faith and acts as the nucleus of the various forms which radiate off it, all with highly symbolic associations.  At either side of the circle the Hermaphrodite and the Sleeping Fetus face each other, whilst Heterosexual Anguish, Without Time and Hallucinogenic Embrace hover at the upper centre. Further layers of allusion are referenced by the inclusion of a self-portrait within each of these apparitions – suggestive, perhaps, of the artist’s multifaceted and complex emotional state. Angelic forms hover at the edges, representative of Mystical Exaltation, Divine Word and Transfiguration. In 1974 the original owner of this work, Swiss publisher Jacques Carpentier, published a suite of fourteen lithographs depicting scenes taken from La Pietà.

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

|
London