Salvador Dalí
Dalí the sculptor

Dalí’s creative genius transforms into three-dimensional sculpture, bringing forth his most famous and fantastic surrealistic images. The passion to express himself sculpturally lasted throughout his lifetime and each sculpture beholds a dalínian philosophy. This superb collection, the most important assembly of Dalí sculptures in France, brings to light the Catalan Master’s imagination, and exhibits an unknown aspect of Salvador Dalí’s work.

In his autobiography La vie Secrète (The secrete life of Salvador Dalí), Dalí relates how, as a child, he made a model of the Venus de Milo because there was a picture of her on a pencil case: this was his first attempt at sculpture.

Dalí was already exploring working in three dimensions in the thirties. As a surrealist artist attempting, to convey the subconscious, dreams, feelings and also in the tradition of Marcel Duchamps, with his ready-made pieces (Fontaine 1917), he was interested in the art of the “object” using unusual materials.

He created “Objects with a symbolic function”, such as the Buste de Femme Retrospectif, which involved combining a painted porcelain milliner’s dummy head with various other salvaged objects (1933). “The surrealist is not practical; it has no use other than to soften people, to exhaust them and to addle their brains. The surrealist object is made for Honour, it exists only for the honour of the thought it contains”.

Dalí gradually returned to a more traditional technique. He would began with a piece of soft wax to which he gave the shape that he wanted by giving concrete form to the irrationality of his imagination. He would then give the necessary hardness to his creation by casting it in bronze so that it could take its place in the outside world. These sculptures were produced using the lost wax* technique. They represent a significant aspect of Dalí’s creation and provide a synthesis of his interest in form. These bronze sculptures are effectively three dimensional surrealism.

Conceived by Dalí on the basis of his most famous pictures, bronze sculptures, such as the Persistence of Memory, the Profile of Time, the Nobility of Time, Venus à la Girafe, the Hallucinogenic Toreador, Space Venus, Alice in Wonderland, and Space Elephant very vigorously demonstrate the force of expression of his iconographic surrealist image.

Lost Wax casting Technique:

This technique enables the production of metal objects from a wax model, the wax is covered with a ceramic mixture to create a mould. The mould is then heated and the wax melts. This operation is called dewaxing. Once the mould is empty it is filled with molten metal. After cooling the ceramic shell is broken away to reveal the freshly cast object. Various polishing and finishing processes then take place such as burnishing, recutting, chasing and patination.