0018-Portrait of Lucia (1918)

Oil on canvas, 33 x 43,5 cm Private collection

Click on the image for a large view and details
Portrait of Lucia (1918)
Portrait de Lucia

Analysis: This is one of the first portraits Dalí painted. It depicts his nurse, Lucia Moncanut, as an old woman. Hired by Dalí’s family to look after him and his sister, Ana-Maria, in Figueras, she occupies an important place in the Dalínian iconography. When this picture was painted, the children having grown up, Lucia was taking care of their maternal grandmother, Ana; Dalí remembers having worked at the same time on a portrait of Ana, in profile, holding in her hand a similar dahlia or perhaps a carnation – Dalí can’t remember which – like the Moorish carnations that Spanish women were in the habit of placing behind their ears or sticking in their hair. Dalí thinks that he painted Lucia’s portrait while he had tonsilitis and she was hovering around him as she used to do when he was a child in order to tell him stories.
We know that Lucia never left the apartment on Monturiol Street; she never went to Cadaqués. It is she, however, whom the painter confused with the silhouette of Lydia, the wife of a fisherman of Cadaqués, when he painted the figure in the center of a picture such as The Weaning of Furniture-Nutrition. Lydia was used as the archetype for the heroine of a novel by Eugenio d’Ors, La Ben Plantada (The Well-Planted Woman). Her paranoiac personality made a great impression on Picasso and Fernande Olivier when they visited the little port of Cadaqués in 1910.
Lydia’s son and Dalí’s father figured out a few years ago that Portrait of Lucia must have been painted c. 1918. Even if it had been done at the end of the following year, it is a good example of Dalí’s impressionistic style, as in the Portrait of Hortensia, Peasant Woman of Cadaqués; Old Man at Twilight – and numerous landscapes of the same period. The mastery of his touch, the precision with which he has rendered the half-blind eyes of the old woman, and the richness of color show what a keen eye the young painter had, even at the age of fourteen.
Source: dali-gallery.com

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