The digital publication of the Catalogue Raisonné of Sculpture and Three-dimensional Work by Salvador Dalí is the result of a particular methodology especially conceived and implemented with the specific needs of Dalí's sculptural work in mind. This approach is basically that of the Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings by Salvador Dalí, which was completed in December 2017, although the structure and presentation have been adapted to the specific needs of the three-dimensional work.
The description below of the phases of this process provides a clearer understanding of the work involved in the preparation of a publication of this nature.
Definition of the standards of identification and classification
As a preliminary step, it was necessary to establish a set of standards for the identification and classification of Dalí's sculptural work. At this stage, rather than structure the work according to chronological periods, the team traced a complete overview of the artist's output from the very earliest to the last known works. This made it possible to detail, in a concise manner, the particular characteristics that define Dalí's output in the field of sculptural work and establish a system with which to clearly distinguish between an original work, a multiple work and a reproduction.
The results of this first phase of work were presented in 2014 on the website of the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí under the title Artistic criteria of the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí in relation to sculpture and three-dimensional work. The fullness of time has shown that these criteria constitute a very useful tool for classifying the sculptural work of the artist and making it known to a wider public.
At the present time this catalogue raisonné is exclusively concerned with all those sculptural works that can be identified as the original work of Dalí. The identification of an original work has been established in accordance with the principles outlined in section 1 above. For more information on the distinguishing characteristics of Dalí's original work, see the Original sculpture section of this catalogue raisonné, in which the theoretical basis is described.
For the time being, this catalogue will not include the multiple works, nor does or will it in any circumstances include authorised reproductions of works produced under licence from the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí.
Given the diversity and richness of materials and techniques that Dalí used in his sculptural work, the scope of this catalogue is not restricted to sculpture in the most traditional sense of the term but takes in other categories of three-dimensional works. The Catalogue Raisonné of Sculpture and Three-dimensional Work by Salvador Dalí thus includes original sculptures, objects and installations whose authorship can reliably be attributed to Dalí. Within these three major groups, the following categories have been established to date: sculpture in the round, manipulated sculpture, involuntary sculpture, object-sculpture, ephemeral object-sculpture, ephemeral installation, object, automatic object, object functioning symbolically, manipulated object and surrealist object. The catalogue raisonné contains a Glossary giving further information on these categories.
The original work by Dalí in this catalogue raisonné includes not only works in the collection of the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí but also those in other fonds and holdings in institutions, museums and private collections around the world.
The publication of the Catalogue Raisonné of Sculpture and Three-dimensional Work by Salvador Dalí has been ordered by period in successive chronological sections that, once completed, will present the artist's sculptural work in its entirety, from the first works to those created in the last stage of Dalí's life.
This structure not only answers the need for manageable presentation but also articulates the various stages of the artist's output. The intention here was to particularize the evolution of the creative process, and to that end very specific chronological spans have been established. This periodization, which has emerged from the study of Dalí's sculptural work, demarcates different stages of creative output, each with its own unique characteristics, as detailed in the Chronological itinerary section.
Identification of works
Once the initial criteria described in section 2 had been established, a first identification was made of all the original works with a good claim to be attributed to Dalí. This phase of the work involved exhaustive exploration of any possible documentary source likely to provide information about the existence of a particular work. It goes without saying that the archive of the Centre for Dalinian Studies and its documentary fonds have played a decisive role in this phase, but external archives have also been consulted.
In the first section, which includes the sculptural work until 1936, photographic images have played an essential role in identifying some works. For the most part these are photographs of exhibitions held during the period in question that bear witness to ephemeral works or works whose current location is unknown. Photographs of Portlligat and of the apartments that Dalí and Gala occupied in Paris and elsewhere in which some of these works were kept for a time have also been considered. In these cases, the photographic image has been cross-checked against other types of documentary evidence to establish beyond reasonable doubt that Dalí is the author.
In close collaboration with the Centre for Dalinian Studies, the research and documentation team involved in this catalogue raisonné has extensively documented the works, especially with regard to the fonds of the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí and those of other major archives.
Information has been collated from a variety of documentary sources, in most cases in the form of manuscripts, contracts, correspondence, photographs, publications, exhibition catalogues, ephemeral documents and so on. The information obtained from these documents has proved invaluable in determining matters of significance, such as the authorship of the work, and in shedding light on the process of its creation.
It has also been possible to determine the frequent correlations between Dalí's pictorial and sculptural practice and to establish a series of relationships between particular works. It is quite clear that during some periods of the artist's career he regularly transferred the iconography he was developing in his painting to his three-dimensional work, and this process is particularly evident in the body of work from the Surrealist phase.
As regards the documentation of the materials and techniques employed by Dalí, the data provided by the owners of the works and the technical expertise of the Department of Conservation and Restoration at the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí have been taken into account.
Contact with the owners
Once all the works that in principle met the requirements for inclusion in this catalogue raisonné had been selected and documented, the owners were contacted to request supplementary information. A special form was created for this consultation, with a number of sections for the relevant information required to establish that the work in question was an original and that Dalí was its author.
In those cases where we have not received an answer to this request for information, it has been decided not to publish the work and it is not included in the present edition of the Catalogue Raisonné of Sculpture and Three-dimensional Work by Salvador Dalí.
Attribution of the work
Once all the documentation had been compiled, those sculptural works that satisfied the criteria entitling them to be considered originals by Dalí were examined directly. The information compiled on these was checked against the compositional, formal, material and technical characteristics of the works themselves. In a few cases, this examination was out by means of high-resolution photographs and the testimony provided by the current owners of the work.
Having checked and verified all the data, in accordance with the guidelines set out in the preceding paragraphs, the next steps were to determine whether the work in question satisfied all the requisites for it to be attributed to Dalí and, if so, whether it was an original work by the artist in the terms detailed in section 2 above.
There are a number of reasons why a work may not be included in this catalogue raisonné. It may not meet the necessary conditions guaranteeing its status as an original work by Dalí, or the available information may not be sufficient to reach a decision as to the authorship and originality of the work. Such works will be subjected to further study and their status may eventually be decided one way or another.
Work in progress
As also with the Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings by Salvador Dalí, digital publication allows this to be a work in progress in which the addition and revision of information is ongoing. It is likely that once this Catalogue Raisonné of Sculpture and Three-dimensional Work by Salvador Dalí is published, additional comments or information on particular works will be received, and once these data have been analyzed and validated by the team of specialists that the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí they will almost certainly be included in the corresponding catalogue entry.
At the same time, the catalogue team will continue its work of preparing the next sections and adding to the information in the sections already published.