Precedents for the study of the sculptural work of Salvador Dalí

Més enllà de l’obra única en l’escultura de Salvador Dalí

There is no doubt that in the field of contemporary sculpture, each artist requires specific individual study, and this is certainly the case with Dalí. Indeed, the difficulties involved in arriving at a unanimous appreciation of the process of production of his sculpture, and particularly in relation to the authenticity of some editions, have raised many questions.

The research conducted by the Centre for Dalinian Studies has focused on identifying the characteristics of the sculptures and three-dimensional works that were produced in editions, with a certain number of copies being made. In fact, one of the major challenges for Salvador Dalí's sculpture today is the proliferation of multiple and even posthumous editions.

In recent years there has been an increase in the posthumous production of sculptures by Salvador Dalí as a consequence of contracts signed by the artist himself before his death and of the transfer or sale of reproduction rights to third parties. Two articles published in ARTnews magazine [1] have drawn attention to this fact, and especially the current state of the trade in Dalí sculpture and the difficulties involved in presenting this work to the public. Although in some cases certain editions do indeed have a legitimate framework or contract, their presentation to the viewer, both in the commercial and in the institutional cultural circuits, needs to provide the necessary guarantees to facilitate a better understanding of the works.

With regard to this confusion, many works are currently offered or exhibited in a 'fraudulent' manner, in the sense that they are presented as original works by Salvador Dalí when this is not the case either legally or artistically. In seeking to address this state of affairs, the Centre for Dalinian Studies of the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí has assumed the task of laying the bases for ensuring a reasoned study of the artist's sculptures, and of establishing specific criteria for their proper identification. In this we have centred our efforts on determining the parameters to allow the identification of a given piece as an original, a multiple work, or merely a reproduction.

As a result, we can now put forward the first guidelines for the authentication of original sculptures by Salvador Dalí. It should be borne in mind, however, that this is still a work in progress, liable to be expanded and/or revised in the light of new information and the findings of our ongoing study.

[1] Thane Peterson, "The Dalí Sculpture Mess", ARTnews,12/01/2008. Publ.: [Consulted: 20/10/2011]; Thane Peterson, "The Dalí Sculpture Mess", ARTnews, 12/03/2012. Publ.: [Consulted: 17/12/2012]. The latter article received the Society of the Silurians Excellence in Journalism Arts/Culture Award 2013.