The Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings by Salvador Dalí is the result of exhaustive interdisciplinary research, which set out to establish a definitive inventory of all the works belonging to Salvador Dalí's pictorial output. This is, then, an exercise of attribution and for the time being does not envisage the aesthetic appraisal of the works.
Online digital publication means that this is a work in progress open to the ongoing addition and revision of information. It is very likely that, once published, its readers will submit new data and comments on particular works, and once these data have been analyzed and validated by the specialist team at the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí they will almost certainly be included in the corresponding entry in the catalogue raisonné.
This work in progress, updated in 2017, has been undertaken in five phases, the first of which dealt with the paintings in oils and in tempera up to 1930. The second section covers the period up to 1939, the third to 1951, the fourth to 1964 and the fifth and last to 1983.
While the bulk of the information comes from the documents archives of the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, this has been complemented by materials in the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg (Florida, USA) and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, who have generously made their archives available at all times, and further supplemented by the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the National Gallery of Scotland, the New York Public Library and other institutions possessing information on the artist and his work.
With regard to researches in private collections, the Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings has enjoyed the cooperation of the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam and of the auction houses Sotheby's, Christie's and Bonhams, among other sources.
The scientific laboratories of the Conservation and Restoration Departments of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid and the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Barcelona have provided invaluable assistance in establishing technical data about which there has been some doubt.
The structure of the work process is as follows:
Works attributed to Dalí are examined, and where direct physical examination of a particular work is not possible use is made of original period photographs and the information provided by museums or private collectors. Where the available information on a given work is not sufficient to settle the question of authenticity beyond all doubt, it has not been included in the catalogue. This does not mean that it may not be attributed to Dalí, but simply that the current state of knowledge does not allow it to be affirmed with absolute certainty that the work is by the artist. Access to and study of objective data for the years 1940-1951 has proved particularly difficult, given that Salvador Dalí lived and worked in the United States throughout the period from 1940 to 1948.
The findings of the visual examination are checked against the available documentation, such as exhibition catalogues and related documents, period photographs or audio-visual material, as well as the information provided by the current owners of the work, whether private individuals or institutions, and this information is then cross-checked against a second source. In general, the documents archives of the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí are the primary source, but other archives around the world are also consulted to provide supplementary information. For instance, the archives of the Abelló Museum in Mollet del Vallès were consulted with regard to works before 1929, while for works up to 1939 the archives of the Julien Levy Gallery in New York, which was Dalí's gallery during his years in the USA, were consulted. For works up to 1951 research was done in several major archives in the United States, such as those of the Smithsonian, the Museum of Modern Art and the New York Public Library. The Dalí legacy deposited with the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía have facilitated the study of the works up to 1983.