0311-The spectre and the ghost (1931)

Oil on canvas, 73 x 100 cm Five Stars Investment Ltd, New-York

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The spectre and the ghost (1931)
Le spectre et le fantôme

Analysis: “Le Spectre et le Fantôme” is one of a series of paintings that shared a theme of spectral and phantom appearances. In a letter to the French Surrealist poet Paul Eluard, Dalí defined the clouds and the rainbow as being the spectre and the brick shape as being the phantom. The clouds take on forms as the viewer stares at them, reflecting the basis of Dalí’s paranoia-critical method.
The work has the same female figure as in “Mediumistic-Paranoiac Image“. The woman is in the foreground, sitting in a puddle on a beach. She is a combination of Dalí’s nurse, his friend Lydia and another of Dalí’s obsessions from that time which was to cause him trouble in the future: Hitler. His obsession with Hitler was partly caused by what he called the “soft flesh” of his back, which was tightly held in by his uniform. He dreamt of him as a wet nurse sitting knitting in a puddle. The woman in the painting has a small cut taken out of her back that emphasizes this obsession with “Hitlerian” flesh.

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0234-The Spectral cow (1928)

Oil on panel, 64,5 x 50 cm Musée National d'Art Moderne (Paris)

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The spectral cow (1928)
La vache spectrale

Analysis: “The Spectral Cow” was painted using oil on plywood. The painting dates from a period in Dalí’s work where his own inimitable style had still not been set and it owes much to other Surrealist artists’ work. At that time Dalí was not officially a Surrealist, (he did not actually join the Surrealist group until Gala’s intervention a few years later), but this painting together with “Unsatisfied Desires“, is an indication of the direction that he was now taking.
The aims of Surrealist painting was to portray dreams, the unconscious and the irrational in an effort to shake the viewers own belief in a fixed reality. Surrealist painters often depicted poetry in their work. Dalí has tried to do this with “The Spectral Cow“, which interprets a dream in André Breton’s Clair de Terre. The cow in the painting is only hinted at, with its delineation formed by several jagged lines of varying width, color and also of apparent texture. Dalí has “feathered” some lines, while others appear to be made of powder. To the right of the cow stands the ghostly form of a duck, its body formed from the air, like a stencil reversed.