0206-Barcelonese mannequin (1927)

Oil on canvas, 198 x 248 cm Fundacion Gala-Salvador Dali, Figueras

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Barcelonese mannequin (1927)
Mannequin barcelonais

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.

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0177-Venus and a sailor – Homage to Salvat Papasseit (1925)

Oil on canvas, 147 x 216 cm Ikeda Museum of 20th Century Art, Shizuoka (Japan)

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Venus and a sailor – Homage to Salvat Papasseit (1925)
Vénus et un marin – Hommage à Salvat Papasseit

Analysis: This painting is one of the three works that were given the title of “Venus and a Sailor“, all painted in 1925 and shown in Dalí’s first solo exhibition at the Dalmau Gallery in Barcelona. This “Venus and the Sailor” (also called Departure) shows Dalí to be still exploring his “Neo-Cubist” style, similar to the “Pierrot Playing the Guitar” (1925). Dalí combined the modern with the old through his choice of subject as well as the manner of the portrayal.
The dominating figure of Venus fills most of the foreground, in true Cubist style she seems large and heavy. She is framed by the window behind her, through which can be seen a boat decorated with flags that is standing ready to leave, (explaining the alternative title of Departure). On Venus’s lap is a sailor who, because of the awkward position of his limbs, as if wooden, and his diminutive size, appears to be a toy. Venus is puckering her lips to kiss the vague image of a sailor; only his profile is painted. Dalí also used this ghostly quality in “Pierrot Playing the Guitar” to give just an impression of the harlequin.

0162-Pierrot playing the guitar (1925)

Oil on canvas, 149 x 198 cm Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid

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Pierrot playing the guitar (1925)
Pierrot jouant de la guitare

Analysis: “Pierrot Playing the Guitar“, also called “Harlequin” with “Siphon And Small Bottle of Rum“, was painted in 1925, using oil on canvas. The painting shows that Dalí was still working in a Cubist style. The piece is an exploration of different, connecting and opposing forms. The palette is subdued, with limited color used, in typical Cubist style, with emphasis on form, not on color.
This work shows an early attempt at visual illusion and double images. At first glance, there appears to be one clown in the picture, but the image is actually two clowns standing one behind the other to create the appearance of just one figure. The pierrot can be seen only in outline, his shape delineated by one bold, jagged line, a technique that Dalí uses in “The Spectral Cow” (1928). Behind the pierrot is a harlequin, who is composed of shadowy blocks that stand out against the pastel background of the wall behind them. The two clowns appear to be a piece of collage; the rectangular shape of their legs has a shadow falling behind it, as if the clowns were made from paper stuck to the room.