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Unsatisfied desires (1928)
Les désirs inassouvis
Analysis: This picture was painted in Cadaqués during the summer of 1928. Dalí sent it along with another work, “Female Nude“, to the Salon d’Automne which was held at Maragall’s Gallery in Barcelona. The directors, frightened in advance at the probable reactions of the public to the obviously sexual allusions contained in the paintings, preferred to withdraw them.
“Then,” Dalí relates, “in protest I gave a lecture at the Sala Pares which triggered a frightful scandal because I had insulted all the painters who were doing twisted trees. This was the first of three scandalous lectures that I was to give in Barcelona. The second took place a few years later at the Atheneo, where I thoroughly insulted the name of the founder of the society who organized the lecture-a man whose memory was respected throughout all Catalonia-by calling him the great pederast and the great hairy putrified man…. Afterwards, I wasn’t able to continue to say very much; everyone threw chairs and broke up everything. The police had to protect me so that I could leave and get as far as the car. The third one was a lecture given with René Crevel during the Surrealist era at a place where the anarchists met called the Popular Encyclopedia. They had put a loaf of bread on my head just like the one in “Bust of a retrospective woman“. I spoke about sex, about testicles, about everything, to such a point that an anarchist got up and said: ‘It’s intolerable that you should use such obscene language in front of our wives, because we are accompanied here by our wives!’ It was Gala’s turn to stand up, and she replied: ‘If he says this in front of his own wife, which I am, he can say it in front of your wives.’
“It is one of the first pictures of the period when I used the gravel from the beach of Llaner as collage; I used to go rather to Sortell near the Pichots’ house to fish for gobies or other things. I picked up cork floats, a little here and there, at random.” These pictures with the gravel and the cork floats were the beginning of a series which Dalí considered the most important before Surrealism: canvases which were practically white with only a few ideographic signs and feathers glued on them, such as “Fishermen in the Sun“.