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Barcelonese mannequin (1927)
Analysis: In this large painting dated 1927 – painted in Figueras, following experiments started in Madrid as early as the end of 1921 – the influence of the masters of Cubism is perfectly visible, particularly that of Juan Gris, for whom Dali has always manifested the keenest admiration. He considers the Madrilenian painter the greatest of all the Cubists, and he acknowledges Picasso’s title as the giant of our times, but rather for his vital genius as a destroyer and his certain way of seeing with a painter’s eye than for his painterly qualities, even if these are exceptional.
This painting was given the title “Barcelonese Mannequin” later. The female figure was inspired by a young girl of Figueras, Ramoneta Montsalvatje, who was one of a small group of friends. She was very pretty and personified elegance, evoking for Dali the memory of the mannequins and women of the world in Barcelona and Madrid. This is evident in the treatment of the feet and the shoes, especially the one in front; attention must also be called to the appearance of the fish-sex, a theme used frequently later on by the Surrealists. At this time Dali had already had the opportunity to see the paintings of post-Cubist artists in the pages of magazines to which he had subscriptions (such as L’Amour de l’art, L’Art d’aujourd’hui, L’Art vivant, …). Most of the Cubist canvases of the years 1926 and 1927, such as “Barcelonese Mannequin“, a selfportrait entitled “Harlequin“, and also “Still Life by the Light of the Moon” are all very large oils.