News. Exhibition of the original drawings for The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí

Figueres, 26 July 2004

The Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation and Girona Provincial Council have inaugurated an exhibition of the original drawings for The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí.

The Chairman of the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation, Ramon Boixadós, the Director of the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres, Antoni Pitxot, and the Chairman of Girona Provincial Council, Carles Páramo, inaugurated the exhibition of 126 original drawings for The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí yesterday evening beneath the dome of the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres. The event was also attended by the Dalí Year Commissioner Montse Aguer, the Provincial Culture Deputy Enric Vilert, the Provincial Council’s cultural Coordinator Ramon Moreno, the Mayor of Figueres Joan Armangué, and the Councillor for Culture Isabel Pineda.

Ramon Boixadós thanked the owner of 124 of the 126 drawings on exhibition for his kindness in lending the works, as well as Girona Provincial Council for sponsoring the exhibition under the collaboration agreement signed on 25 June last. Carles Páramo showed his pleasure at taking part in Dalí Year with an exhibition whose content was of such importance for Dalí, and he thanked the Foundation for the facilities it had accorded for promoting Girona through the image and work of Salvador Dalí, for the Costa Brava Girona Tourist Board has been boosting the artist’s relationship with his land, one that so marked Dalí’s oeuvre and character.

The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí

The exhibition brings together 126 original illustrations of the 136 the artist created for the first edition of The Secret Life, dating from 1942. The technique used in most of them is India ink on paper. Of the 126 drawings on exhibition, two are from the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation’s own collection.

Salvador Dalí wrote his autobiography at a relatively young age, when he was 37 to 38 years old. In the prologue to the first volume of the Complete Works of Salvador Dalí published by Destino, Fèlix Fanés, professor of art at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and advisor to the Dalí Foundation’s Centre for Dalinian Studies, offered three possible explanations for the artist having written the rather premature memoirs. “Maybe he had so much to recount that he could not postpone the account until he had reached an age when the biographic span would be revealed in full outline. Or perhaps he found himself at a time of change in his oeuvre so fundamental that he had to look back with perspective on the work achieved so far. Or was it that he felt it necessary to write — indeed rewrite — his story in order to expunge from it certain youthful temptations, political and artistic, at a time when he had to present himself in immaculate guise to the gaze of the (presumably conservative) American public that he aspired to conquer? It’s hard to say. All three hypotheses are quite reasonable, and need not necessarily exclude each other”. Antoni Pitxot highlighted the zeal and enthusiasm Dalí brought to this self-analysis of his memories and experiences, while at the same time reaffirming himself as a “voyeur”, in this case of himself. As the dutiful son of a notary public, Dalí made a record of many of his experiences by executing ink-on-paper drawings that he had gathered together over the course of thirty years and that he brought together in The Secret Life. Montse Aguer reviewed some of the drawings for the press, mentioning the one dedicated to the comic-strip character Patufet, whom Dalí called the “Catalan hero”, an F.A.I. (Iberian Anarchist Federation) militiaman who filled a glass with his own blood, as well as a drawing with clear Picassian influence which might have been a sketch for the oil painting the Foundation presented this year, Women Reclining on the Sand, and a portrait of Freud with snail-like brain, etc.

The autobiography The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí is a magnificent tool for deciphering a goodly part of the Dalinian code. The exhibition can be seen on the third floor of the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres (Room 13) up to 31 December of this year.