Details & Cataloguing

Rostropovich - Vishnevskaya: The Private Collection


Salvador Dalí
1904 - 1989
inscribed Dalí, dated 1966, numbered 4/6 and bearing the Georges Rudier Fondeur, Paris stamp
gilt and silvered bronze
height: 50cm., 19 5/8 in.
Conceived in 1966 and cast in bronze circa 1970 by the Georges Rudier Foundry, Paris in a numbered edition of at least 6 examples.
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Mstislav Rostropovich, Paris (a gift from the Artist)
By descent from the above to the present owner


Robert & Nicolas Descharnes, Dalí, Sculptures & Objects, The Hard and the Soft, Spells for the Magic of Form, Paris, 2003, no. 281, illustrations of other casts p. 117

Catalogue Note

This gilt and silvered bronze violin is testament to the close friendship that developed between two extraordinary artists: Mstislav Rostropovich and the Spanish Surrealist Salvador Dalí. 

The present work, Dalí’s drawing of Rostropovich (illustrated below) and a series of paintings further confirm the cellist’ influence on Dali’s career and work. Shortly after attending the first performance that Rostropovich gave in 1967 at the Champs Elysées Theatre, Dalí asked Rostropovich if he could pose for him in the hope of capturing the cellist’s intense actions. Following the painter’s request, Rostropovich played the same eight fragments from Bizet’s “Les pêcheurs de perles;” for three hours, a transcendent performance during which Dalí is recorded shedding tears.

The drawing and Le Violon were the precursors of Dalí’s 1983 “Séries de Catastrophes,” which adopts the cello as the main subject. Ultimately, Dalí uses the form of the cello as a visual metaphor for music and the female form, rendering the instrument into a surreal object emblematic of the great artist’s œuvre.

The present work was cast in multiple editions with varying combinations of patina, ranging from gold to silver and black and green. Originally conceived as wall appliques, several casts have candle arms issuing from the shoulders of the torso. It is possible, in fact, that they were designed to be sold in pairs.

Rostropovich - Vishnevskaya: The Private Collection