The National Arts Club celebrated the opening of a new Salvador Dali exhibit entitled Dali: The Golden Years. The free month-long show runs from February 2nd to February 28th, and features drawings and prints from the famed Spanish artist ranging from the 1930s – 1970s. There will be 65 pieces, with four early works of Dali’s that have yet to see public eyes. The exhibit is made up of three collections, “The Chants Maldoror”, “12 Tribes of Israel”, and “Memories of Surrealism.” All three collections mark a major graphic series in the career of the twentieth century artist. One of the pieces on show is a double-sided drawing from 1924 that features “Head of a Young Girl” on one side and “Portrait of Dali’s Father” on the other. Two preliminary drawings of Dali’s Corpus Hypercubus (or “Crucifixion”) will also be featured. Dr. Alex Rosenberg, Audrey Gruss, Jean Shafiroff, Hilary Weldon, Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin, Steve Stanulis, Christine Schott-Ledes, George Ledes, and Jill Zarin all stopped by on opening night. Julie and Herb Karlitz, Billy Morrissey, Dale Noelle and Elaine Sargent were in attendance as well.
Three of the best collections have been chosen as they represent Dali’s importance as an artist. “Les Chants de Maldoror, ”from 1930, shows his personal visions brought to life. Dali worked on a method he called “paranoiac-critical” and used a stream-of-consciousness process to access his hallucinations and delusions. These visions became the subject for this collection. “12 Tribes of Israel” is a complete 13-print collection (from one of the original 250) and is displayed in full. The collection celebrates its 25th anniversary and is memorialized by the Israeli people for its roots and development of Israel’s mythical characters. In fact, the collection was not only commissioned by Israel, but hangs in the Israeli Presidential Palace to this day. The third collection, “Memories of Surrealism,” consists of 12 hand-signed prints on paper. It was commissioned by Dr. Alex Rosenberg of The National Arts Club in 1971, and is an ideal example of Dalian symbolism and surrealism. Crutches, clocks, butterflies, and Dali himself are all included in these works, which stand as important symbols that describe his artistic process.
The National Arts Club is excited to be presenting Dali’s work, and Dianne Bernhard, Director of the Office of Fine Arts states, “Surrealism was an intellectual and artistic movement that was grounded in the psyche of man. Dali expressed what the unconscious mind was thinking in order to simultaneously liberate and expand culture. The works in this exhibit are a product of that thought process, free of restraints. To have these four pieces that have not been shown anywhere before, is a big honor for The National Arts Club.” On a constant mission to educate, engage, and enrich its circle of creative minded individuals, the club takes pride in presenting their permanent and temporary collections to a wide audience, as evident in their line up of current and past exhibits, including 2014’s record-breaking “Charles James: Beneath the Dress,” Picasso, Romare, Bearden, Rembrandt, Goya, and Ilya and Emilia Kabakov. The Dali exhibit includes commentaries from New York art dealer Walter F. Maibaum, as well as art publisher and dealer Lawrence Saphire. The two were not only friends of Dali, but have lent pieces from their private collections specifically for this exhibit. Dr. Rosenberg, who is scheduled to speak at the Sunday Salon on February 8th, published some of Dali’s most significant prints and maintained a personal relationship with Dali. He will share his professional experiences in working first hand with Dali, and provide insight into the complex personality and behavior of the man he called a friend. Joining Dr. Rosenberg will be a panel of printmaking experts who will share their expertise and the multi-faceted techniques involved in creating a graphic work.
Dali’s fearless experimentation with printmaking techniques gave him the tools to explore his imagination and give visuals to his perspective of dreams. At a young age, Dali learned to appreciate the technical aspects and creative potential of printmaking, and no consideration of his work would be complete without taking into account the work he produced as a graphic artist. The show gives us a chance to revisit Dali’s greatest work and also works as a way of reaffirming just how important Dali was, and still is, to the world of art.
The National Arts Club is located at 15 Gramercy Park South