55
55

PROPERTY OF A DISTINGUISHED ASIAN COLLECTOR

Salvador Dalí
SPECTRE DU SOIR SUR LA PLAGE
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Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
6,000,0008,000,000
LOT SOLD. 6,802,000 USD
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55

PROPERTY OF A DISTINGUISHED ASIAN COLLECTOR

Salvador Dalí
SPECTRE DU SOIR SUR LA PLAGE
Estimate
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
6,000,0008,000,000
LOT SOLD. 6,802,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

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New York

Salvador Dalí
1904 - 1989
SPECTRE DU SOIR SUR LA PLAGE
Signed Gala Salvador Dalí and dated 1935 (lower right)
Oil on canvas
19 3/4 by 24 1/8 in.
50 by 61.4 cm
Painted in 1935. 
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Provenance

Private Collection, Europe (a gift from the artist circa 1935 and thence by descent)

Private Collection, Connecticut (acquired from the above)

Private Collection (acquired from the above and sold: Sotheby's, New York, May 5, 2010, lot 25)

Acquired at the above sale

Exhibited

Humlebaek, Denmark, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Salvador Dalí, 1973, no. 14, illustrated in the catalogue (dated 1934 and with incorrect dimensions)

Frankfurt-am-Main, Städtische Galerie und Städelsche Kunstinstitut, Salvador Dalí, 1974, no. 8

Roslyn Harbor, Nassau County Museum, Surrealism: Dreams on Canvas, 2007

Literature

Robert Descharnes & Gilles Néret, Salvador Dalí, L'Oeuvre peint, Cologne, 1994, vol. I, no. 495, illustrated p. 220; vol. II, catalogued p. 753 (dated 1934 and with the measurements 65 by 54 cm)

Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, Salvador Dalí Catalogue raisonné of Paintings [1910-1939], Figueres, 2006, no. 360  (with the measurements 54 by 65 cm)

Catalogue Note

Dalí's windswept landscape of distant figures on a desolate beach conveys a vulnerability and menacing solitude that characterizes the artist's most poignant compositions. The painting is awash in a haze of topaz and sapphire that form the great expanse of the sandy beach and the brilliant blue sky of the Mediterranean. The setting here is the beach at Rosas on the Costa Brava, not far from Figueres. It was here that Dalí spent many summers as a child, and his recollections of this formative period were portrayed in many of his most haunting Surrealist compositions. Painted during the most important period of his career in 1935, Spectre du soir sur la plage exemplifies Dalí's genius for representing the potency of people, places and events long forgotten.

This picture belongs to a series of beach depictions that Dalí completed in the mid-1930s. In some of these compositions, his cousin Carolinetta appears as an apparition in the distance. The precision with which Dalí renders these figures as miniature details of a sweeping vista calls to mind the landscape paintings of the European old masters, whom Dalí greatly admired. The melancholic setting of the deserted Spanish beach was a scene to which he would return time and time again over the years and would be the setting for some of his most paranoid artistic visions, including his epic Soft Construction with Boiled Beans, painted one year after the present work.

In 1934, Dalí delivered a lecture at the Museum of Modern Art in New York that outlined the major themes and preoccupations in his pictures of the time: "To understand an aesthetic picture, training in appreciation is necessary, cultural and intellectual preparation. For Surrealism the only requisite is a receptive and intuitive human being... The subconscious has a symbolic language that is truly a universal language for it does not depend on education or culture or intelligence but speaks with the vocabulary of the great vital constants, sexual instinct, sense of death, physical notion of the enigma of space these vital constants are universally echoed in every human being" (quoted in Salvador Dalí (exhibition catalogue), The Tate Gallery, London, 1908, pp. 15-16).

As was the case for his most important Surrealist compositions of the 1930s and afterwards, Dalí signed the present composition using a combined version of his own name and that of his lover Gala. The first appearance of the double-signature seems to be 1931, coinciding with the time immediately after Dalí's disinheritance by his father (in December 1930). By the time he painted the present work, Dalí's life and persona had become so intertwined with that of his companion that he no longer regarded his artistic production as independent from her influence. 

Throughout this period, the artist was championing his 'paranoiac-critical' method - his term for the controlled use of freely-associated imagery and subjects derived from self-induced hallucinations. There is a distinction to be drawn between this method and the automatism of many of his fellow Surrealists. Whereas automatism relies on unreflecting response to stimuli and chance occurrence, Dalí's approach to the irrational was highly planned and manipulated to fulfill a pre-established conception.

Dawn Ades writes of the artist's unique iconography: "...Dalí increasingly persuaded himself of the imperative to make his paintings as convincing, deceptive and illusionistic as possible. His aim, put crudely, was to give form to the formless and invisible, to dreams, reveries, delusions, desires and fears. His ambition, both in what he was aware of depicting and what remained fortuitous and concealed was to make the world of the imagination 'as objectively evident, consistent, durable, as persuasively, cognoscitively, and communicably thick as the exterior world of phenomenal reality.' His desire to give substance to the phantoms destined always to remain virtual led to one of the most sustained investigations into the relationship between vision, perception and representation of the century" (Dalí's Optical Illusions (exhibition catalogue), Hartford, Wadsworth Atheneum; Washington, D.C., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden & Edinburgh, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, 2000, p. 10).

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

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New York