on October 29, 2003
Seventy-one illustrations, including 40 plates in full color, are inside this great book, taken from the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersberg, Florida. Dali, born in Figueres, Spain on May 11, 1904, is probably my favorite Surrealist painter.
What I enjoy the most are the color plates; however, a close second is the illuminating commentary by Mr. Wach of which he discusses the works' styles as well as the psychological content, both in succinct detail.
The book is broken up into six parts:*Preface and Acknowledgments, *Salvador Dali: An Introduction (including many pencil, ink and charcoal drawings as well as his life and influences,) *Colorplates (with commentary opposite pages,) *Biographical Chronology (full of seemingly day by day happenings of his life and works,) *Selected Bibliography and *Index.
For those considering purchasing this book, here are most of the color plates (*** stars are favorites of mine):
**View of Cadaques with Shadow of Mount Pani, ***Port of Cadaques (Night)["Contemporary witnesses recounted seeing the young Dali painting two canvases at once--one with his left hand and one with his right...one of the first hints at his later interest in double images and in stereoscopic vision." from the commentary. I love this haunting painting.] **Self-Portrait (Figueres,) **Still Life: Pulpo y Scorpa, **Still Life: Sandia ["...he was concerned with the more formal relationships of shapes that characterize the art of Cubism..."], **The Basket of Bread, **Femme Couchee, **Apparatus and Hand [...one of the most accomplished works of this period...this painting announces a fresh Mediterrean luminosity that was to stay with Dali, together with a more uninhibited repertoire of images and associations..."], **The Bather, **Beigneuses [sic], **Dit Gros, Platja, Luna i Ocell Podrit (Big Thumb, Beach, Moon, and Decaying Bird), **Ocell...Peix, [..."the painting's dark sky betrays its orgins in the Surrealist's experimental technique of grattage--a method of pictorial generation that relied upon the uncovered images formed by scratching back layers of ink or thin bitumen spread over preexisting work..."], **The First Day of Spring, **The Profanation of the Host, **The Average Bureaucrat, **Au Bord de la Mer, **Shades of Night Descending ["...drawn from childhood memories of the Playa Confitera, a beach known and loved for its candy-shaped pebbles..."), **Memory of the Child-Woman, ***Sugar Sphinx ["...The large expanse of sky creates a quietly contemplative effect that is unique and hints at the solemnity of the theme..."], ***Portrait of Gala [I wish I could include the entire commentary!], **Skull with Its Lyric Appendage Leaning of a Night Table Which Should Have the Exact Temperature of a Cardinal Bird's Nest [love this wacky title], **The Weaning of Furniture Nutrition, **Decalcomania, **Morphological Echo, ***Three Young Surrealist Women Holding in Their Arms the Skins of an Orchestra, **Tristan Fou, **Daddy Longlegs of the Evening--Hope!, **Old Age, Adolescence, Infancy (The Three Ages), **Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of the New Man, **Christ in Perspective, ***The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory, ***Nature Morte Vivante (Still Life-Fast Moving), ***The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus, *** The Ecumenical Council ["...The faith is mediated by the floating image of Gala as St. Helena,...The corss that she holds reflects the one in the hand of Christ, above her, who points upward to its spiritual significance..."] ***Galacidalacidesoxiribunucleicacid [sic] (Homage to Crick and Watson)[say that fast three times! Heh.] and the final colorplate is from the book's cover, ***The Hallucinogenic Toreador.
I have enjoyed perusing over this fine book. Recommended for eye-opening insight into Dali. A few of my favorites paintings, "The Persistence of Memory," and just two or three others are missing. But for what you get here, its definitely 5 stars. A very well planned, and organized, fun to read volume. Bravo Wach!
Breton's definition of Surrealism (from _Manifesto of Surrealism_ in 1924:)
"Surrealism, noun, masculine. Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express--verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner,--the actual functioning of thought. Dictated by thought, in the absensce of any control by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern. Encyclopedia, Philosophy: Surrealism is based upon the belief in the superior reality of certain forms of previously neglected associations, in the omnipotence of dream, in the disinterested play of thought. It tends to ruin, once and for all, the other psychic mechanisms and to subtitle itself for them in solving all the principle problems of life."