The works that form part of this exhibition set up in the Fishmongers' Room of the Theatre-Museum, are early pieces of Dalí, when landscape and family were common themes for him. Though at that time, Dalí was already seeking a personal pictorial language. The creative process is based on a superposition of various influences, on sharp twists and change of styles , on formal novelties and on the experimentation of forms and colours.
The Dalí Theatre-Museum has inaugurated a small-format exhibition dedicated to the artist's sister. It consists of six works by Salvador Dalí from the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation collection and five little-known pieces from a private collection, one of which has never been exhibited before. The presentation of the exhibition was given by Montse Aguer, Director of the Centre for Dalinian Studies, and Antoni Pitxot, Director of the Theatre-Museum, both trustees of the Dalí Foundation.
Since the exhibition the three oil paintings from the private collection have been added to the Dalí Foundation's on-line Catalogue Raisonné, thus fulfilling one of the main objectives of the Gala-Salvador Foundation -cataloguing the artist's entire production, a task that the Centre for Dalinian Studies carries out.
One of the young Dalí favourite models was his sister, Anna Maria. She said herself: "Over the hours that I spent as his model I didn't tire of looking at this landscape that since then became a part of me. While he painted me, I was beside a window, and that is why my eyes had time to wander on the tiniest details of the landscape".
Anna Maria Dalí is represented in various portraits. One of them, the one that had never been exhibited before, is Portrait of the Artist's Sister, probably painted in 1920, at the same time than Portrait of my father. In that portrait we can see a female figure carrying a fruitbasket in her hands: Anna Maria at the age of twelve with Cadaqués in the background, which allows us to date this portrait around the year 1920. Dalí painted it in the manner of his Self-Portrait with Raphaelesque Neck, that is to say with an impressionist technique, probably in the studio that his father rented beside the Es Llaner house, where the family spent the summers - a house that was to become Anna Maria's residence upon the death of her father. Along with this portrait, our exhibit presents works such as Portrait of the Artist's Sister, ca 1923, Portrait of my Sister, 1925, both belonging to the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation collection, and a two oil paintings that, since 1927, had only been seen on black-and-white photographs from the period: Girl Sewing (1926) and Anna Maria (also 1926).
Anna Maria (painting on copper) and one of the other paintings, Basket of Bread, also presented at this exhibition, were exhibited in 1928 at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh at the Twenty-Seventh International Exhibition of Paintings. Anna Maria herself explained their reception : "This exhibition success laid not only in the press and in sales, but in the fact that the work exhibited drew attention abroad. A representative of the Carnegie Institute came to Figueres to take two of the paintings away to the Pittsburgh exhibition, where the paintings met with definitive success. Basket of Bread was acquired by the city's Museum of Modern Art, and if they did not get hold of Anna Maria it was only because my father did not want to sell it, because it was a picture of me".
As well as the works mentioned, the exhibition is completed with the following works from the Dalí Foundation: two studies for Girl Sewing from 1926, the drawing Anna Maria Sleeping, ca 1926, and Study for Anna Maria also from 1926. The exhibition set out to pay an homage to Anna Maria, the painter's sister.