0313-They were there (1931)

Oil on canvas, dimensions unknown Private collection

Click on the image for a large view and details
They were there (1931)
Ils étaient là

Analysis: Dalí had many different ways of signing a painting; sometimes using an emblem or a crown. “They Were There” is signed “Gala Dalí”; he had begun signing his work with both his and Gala’s names in 1931. Dalí said that this was because it was mostly with Gala’s blood that he painted. The signature on this painting was made with blood-red paint to emphasize this point.
They Were There” is a portrait, though the subject is unknown. The man stands in the foreground staring straight out at the viewer, which was unusual for Dalí’s portraits. He appears relaxed with one hand in the pocket of his casual suit, a cigarette in the other hand. The background of the painting is the usual desert, bounded by green hills. The man on the rearing horse is an image also seen in “Mrs Reese“. “They Were There” does not show Dalí’s usual eye for the miniature details, the trees in the background are basic and little effort seems to have been taken over the clouds either. In both “Mrs Reese” and “They Were There” the brushwork on the people is very smooth; there are no wrinkles or lines, giving an almost plastic quality.

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