The catalogue raisonné was begun in 2004, to mark the centenary of the artist’s birth, with the purpose of assembling and sharing — as an online publication — a rigorous and comprehensive body of information about the works painted by Salvador Dalí between 1910 and 1983.
WHAT IS IT?
The primary aim of the catalogue raisonné is to establish beyond doubt the works that belong to Dalí’s output as an artist. It is, then, a task of attribution, and at present does not extend to an aesthetic appraisal of the works.
The project is conceived as a work in progress, continuously modified and expanded with the new data provided by the specialist team of the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí. As a result of their exhaustive ongoing researches we are now publishing the latest section of the catalogue raisonné, which covers the artist’s paintings from 1940 until 1951.
The working process is organized as follows:
The basic information used in the catalogue comes from the very extensive documentary archive of the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, and has been supplemented with material from the equally important archive of the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg (Florida, USA) which has been generous with its cooperation at all times. We have also consulted the archive of the Pompidou Centre in Paris, and the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam has helped us trace works in private collections and elsewhere, notably in the Sotheby’s and Christie’s auction houses. Moreover, in establishing technical data about which there has been some doubt we have benefitted from the scientific collaboration of the Conservation and Restoration departments of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid and the Faculty of Fine Arts at the Universitat de Barcelona.
- We examine the works attributed to Dalí that are known to us.
- We compare the visual examination with photographic documentation and with the available information (provided by the current owners of the work, experts and institutions).
- Where possible we cross-check the information against a second source, such as:
- books in the Library of the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí
- exhibition catalogues
- newspaper and magazine articles from the Periodicals Archive of the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí
- auction catalogues
- the artist’s own manuscripts
- various archives:
- for works before 1929, the archive of the Museu Abelló in Mollet del Vallès
- for works up until 1939, the archive of the Julien Levy Gallery in New York
- for works up until 1951, the archives of the Smithsonian, the Museum of Modern Art and the New York Public Library in New York
- Julia Pine, Paul Dorsey, Paul Chimera and Karl-Heinz Klumpner have shared with us the fruits of their study of portraits painted by Salvador Dalí
Where we are unable to examine the work directly, we study photographs of it and the information provided by museums and private collectors. In cases where attribution is dubious, we do not include works about which there is insufficient information in the catalogue. This does not mean that these works cannot be attributed to Dalí, but that the available information does not allow us to be certain that the work in question is by the artist. Regarding the period 1940-1951, research and access to objective data has been very difficult because Dalí lived and worked in the United States from 1940 to 1948.
The work is carried out by the specialist staff of the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, under the direction of Montse Aguer, Director of the Centre for Dalinian Studies (CED), with advice from Antoni Pitxot, Director of the Dalí Theatre-Museum.
The team members are:
- for the first section, works until 1929: Carme Ruiz (CED) and Rosa Aguer (register). This team was advised by Georgina Berini, conservator-restorer, and Felix Fanés, Professor of Art History at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and advisor to the CED.
- for the second section, works from 1929 to 1939: Carme Ruiz (coordinator), Rosa Maria Maurell, Mireia Roura and Anna Otero (CED) and Irene Civil (Head of Conservation and Restoration).
- for the third section, works from 1940 to 1951: Carme Ruiz (coordinator), Anna Otero (CED) and Irene Civil (Head of Conservation and Restoration). For the exhibitions and bibliography section, the CED team: Cuca R. Costa, Bea Crespo, Lucia Moni, Michela Frontino, Rosa Maria Maurell and Fanny Estela.
HOW DOES THE CATALOGUE RAISONNÉ WORK?
To access the entry on a particular work, go to the search engine. The search engine has different sections, some of them with drop-down menus, to facilitate the search.
Each entry includes, whenever possible, a colour reproduction of the work. All of the information in the various sections has been entered in accordance with the following criteria:
It is not unusual for a work to be known by more than one name. This catalogue raisonné gives precedence to the title given to the work on its first exhibition, and this appears in italics (and in brackets, in English translation, if necessary). Any other titles subsequently given to the work then appear in bold.
Where the title given to the work on its first exhibition is not known when the work appeared in its first exhibition, precedence is given to the most commonly accepted title, and this appears in bold.
Dalí did not always date his works. For works that are not dated, we propose a year. Where there is not enough reliable information to establish the date with complete certainty the year is preceded by the abbreviation c. (circa).
This catalogue raisonné is mostly devoted to oil paintings, but it also includes works in tempera and in other media such as collage.
Dalí painted on different types of support in his first period up until 1930, such as cardboard and wood, but especially on fabrics of all kinds, notably sackcloth, in very large pieces with a very coarse texture, applying the paint directly without any intermediate primer layer. During the 1930s he mainly used small wooden boards and commercially prepared canvases. In the 1940s he mostly used medium-sized commercially prepared canvases; the few cases where he used a rigid panel were projects for other works, such as films.
The measurements of the work are given in centimetres and in inches, with the height followed by the width. Where it was not possible to take the measurements directly from the work, we use the information provided by the owner.
Signature and inscriptions
If the work is signed, the signature is described and its position detailed. If the work is unsigned or was signed at a later date, this fact is noted.
This section gives the current owner of the work. Many private collectors prefer not to be identified, and in such cases the expression ‘private collection’ is used.
The names of the different owners of the work are listed here in chronological order. This information, which is of great relevance for the attribution of a painting, can be difficult to obtain. For this reason we encourage owners to contact us if they have any information of interest about the works.
This section contains supplementary information that may clarify various aspects of the work, its title, date, provenance, etc.
This is a chronological list of the most important exhibitions in which the work has been shown. Where the number assigned to the reproduction in the catalogue of the exhibition is known, it is given here.
This details the most important books in which a reproduction of the work appears, with the page number.
As an institution dedicated to studying the work of Salvador Dalí, we invite owners both past and present to provide information by completing the owner’s form.
We can also be contacted via email at ced@(ELIMINAR)fundaciodali.org and at:
- Centre d’Estudis Dalinians
- Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí
- Pujada del Castell, 28
- 17600 Figueres
- Tel. +34 972 677 514
- Fax. +34 972 501 666
As with any Catalogue Raisonné, this is a work in progress. Thanks to the open nature of the system chosen to present it (online), provisional data will be altered in the light of new information obtained. The basic information for this catalogue was obtained from the extensive archival sources of the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation, and supplemented by the major archives of the Salvador Dalí Museum of St. Petersburg, which has placed its collection entirely at our disposal. The Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen of Rotterdam and the auction house Sotheby's have helped us with the private collection research process. For the resolution of certain technical data we have received technical assistance from the Conservation and Restoration Departments of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid and the Fine Arts Faculty of the University of Barcelona.