Lot 132
  • 132

SALVADOR DALÍ | La Pêche aux thons (étude)

25,000 - 35,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Salvador Dalí
  • La Pêche aux thons (étude)
  • gouache on a photographic base
  • 28.5 by 38.5cm., 11 1/4 by 15 1/4 in.
  • Executed in 1967.


Musées Perrot-Moore, Cadaqués
Sale: Artcurial-Briest, Paris, 28th June 2005, lot 314
Private Collection, Europe (purchased at the above sale)
Sale: Aguttes, Paris, 30th March 2015, lot 135
Private Collection, Europe (purchased at the above sale)
Acquired from the above by the present owner


Cadaqués, Musées Perrot-Moore & Vienna, Palais Auersperg, Salvador Dalí, Bilder, Zeichnungen, Objekte, eine Austellung des Museu Perrot-Moore, Cadaqués, 1982, no. 61, illustrated in the catalogue
Munich, Galerie Ruf, Salvador Dalí, Bilder, Zeichnungen, Objekte, Eine Ausstellung des Museu Perrot-Moore, 1982, no. 60, illustrated in the catalogue
Perpignan, Palais des Roi de Majorque, Dalí à Perpignan, 1982, no. 60, illustrated in the catalogue
Toulouse, Réfectoire des Jacobins, Salvador Dalí, Huiles, Dessins, Sculptures, 1984, n.n., illustrated in the catalogue
Vascœuil, Château de Vascœuil, Centre d'Art et d'Histoire, Salvador Dalí, 2001, n.n., illustrated in the catalogue

Catalogue Note

The present work is a study for Salvador Dalí’s late great masterpiece La Pêche aux thons (1966-1967), a monumental oil painting rife with Dionysian figures, testament to Dalí’s forty-year search for visual expression. An extraordinary celebration of the artist’s pictorial language, the work draws from multifarious styles characteristic of Dali’s œuvre: Surrealism, ‘refined pompierism’, Pointillism, action painting, Tachism, geometrical abstraction, Pop art, Op art and psychedelic art. Displaying exceptional technical mastery, the artist himself calls this the ‘the most ambitious picture I have ever painted’, executed in honour of the nineteenth century military artist, Jean-Louis-Ernst Meissonier. ‘It is a revival of representational art, which was underestimated by everyone except the Surrealists through the period of so-called ‘avant-garde’ art. It was my father who told me of the epic subject’ (quoted in Robert Descharnes & Gilles Néret, Salvador Dalí. The Paintings, Cologne, 1994, vol. II, p. 577). La Pêche aux thons pays tribute to the elementary forces of nature manifest in battle through a dynamic portrayal of man, tuna, sea and blood. Amidst the chaotic explosion of action, Dalí tackles his life-long fascination with Teilhard de Chardin’s Omega Point Theory: the belief that the universe and the cosmos were finite. In the artist’s own words, ‘In a way, this liberates us from the terrible Pascalian fear that living beings are of no importance compared with the cosmos; and it leads us to the idea that the entire cosmos and universe meet at a certain point – which, in this case, is the tuna catch. Hence the alarming energy in the painting! Because all those fish, all those tuna, and all the people busy killing them, are personifications of the finite universe’ (quoted in Ibid.)

Nicolas and Olivier Descharnes have kindly confirmed the authenticity of this work.