0301-Mrs Reese (1931)

Oil on canvas, dimensions unknown Private collection

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Mrs Reese (1931)

Analysis: Dalí painted portraits through most of his career, starting with his family in his earlier years and quickly moving on to paying subjects when he realized the demand that there was for his work. Other members of the Surrealist group criticized Dalí for choosing to paint portraits of paying customers. They saw such work as lowering creative standards, believing that artists should only paint what inspired them, despite a long tradition of portrait painting.
As was often the case for Dalí, this portrait is set against a Catalan landscape of a desert with hills in the far distance. There are other images that are typical of Dalí, such as the domed building without a center and the man sitting on a rearing horse.
Mme. Reese stands against this background, lit up by rays of light from the dense cloud above her. She is dressed up in a ball gown and wearing pearls, suggesting that she is one of the wealthy elite that Dalí often painted. The portrait is conventional, unlike the slightly Surrealist “Portrait of Mrs. Jack Warner“.