Galerie Michael is pleased to present a carefully curated selection of our most exclusive, museum quality works. As the year comes to a close, our team has chosen this select number of masterpieces—arranged by respective artists—to showcase the gallery’s “best ofs.” Galerie Michael is committed to providing our clients with fine art of the highest quality, and we invite you to admire this group of our most extraordinary compositions.

Étude pour Santiago el Grande, c. 1957-1964 • Salvador DALÍ (1904-1989) 

Salvador DALÍ (1904-1989)
Étude pour Santiago el Grande, c. 1957-1964

Watercolor, gouache, pencil and charcoal on tracing paper laid on cardboard
Signed lower left
An exceptional example of a rare original work by Dalí.
Accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Nicolas Descharnesand the late Robert Descharnes, reference number D-2697/1053.
21 3/8 x 15 3/4 in. (54.3 x 40.3 cm)

Framed dimensions: 31 1/2 x 26 1/8 in.
915331

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“[I was] Painting for the first time in an anti-existentialist tremor, the tremor of national unity. Everything in this painting comes from the four jasmine petals that explode into a creative atomic cloud.”
Salvador Dalí on the conception of Santiago el Grande (“Santiago the Great”) (1957)

Salvador Dalí’s Étude pour Santiago el Grande (“Study for Santiago the Great”) (c. 1957-1964) survives as an exceptionally rare study piece, and ultimately the conception of the famed Santiago El Grande (1957)now on display at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. During this especially pivotal period of the master artist’s career, Dalídelved deeper into his exploration of religious themes and the Old Masters. He also began to immerse himself in the study of Western art history, while remaining involved in other artistic and commercial projects.

Étude pour Santiago el Grande reflects the artist’s perpetual experimentation with “optical art,” which he used to achieve unusual optical illusions. Shortly after the conception of Étude pour Santiago el Grande, Dalí advanced to holography, making use of lenticular plastic to produce extraordinarily interactive and awe-inspiring illusions. All of Dalí’s art has a certain, unique power to dissect realityby use of surreal iconography. Étude pour Santiago el Grande is a striking representation of the multifaceted, dynamic nature of not only Dalí’s oeuvre, but also the man himself. Étude pour Santiago el Grande features a conquistador astride a white stallion.

The horse and rider command the central axis while triumphantly springing from a shell that levitates above a desert landscape. The animated conquistador brandishes a shield and spear—a nod to Spanish bullfighting culture. Conquistadors consistently appear in many of Dalí’s most famous and coveted compositions. A splayed-out geometric pattern frames the horse and rider which, as stated by Dalí, is representative of an atomic explosion bursting from the four petals of a stylized jasmine flower—a symbol of purity. Dalíincludes the flower as a personal reference (to one of his favorite aromas) amid iconography that is almost entirely rooted in Spanish tradition. Most strikingly, the brave conquistador raises his steed to the heavens, which powerfully reinforces the themes of religiosity and nationalism. Furthermore, the upward motion of the rearing steed symbolizes Christ’s (and ultimately man’s) ascension towards Heaven. Aside from the religious official and praying person pictured in the desert landscape, the elevation of the steed is the most noteworthy instance of religious iconography in the composition.

Étude pour Santiago el Grande is a uniquely brilliant mixture of hyper-realism and mystic allure, evoking themes of nationalism and religion. Dalí experiments with perspective and encourages viewers to reflect on the relationship between national identity and theology. Galerie Michael is thrilled to present this masterpiece, worthy of a private museum quality collection, to collectors across the globe.

 Santiago el Grande, Final Version

Study for Soldier Take Warning, 1942 • Salvador DALÍ (1904-1989)

Salvador DALÍ (1904-1989)
Study for Soldier Take Warning, 1942

Gouache, pen, ink and pencil on brown paper
Signed and dated lower right
The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by Nicolas and Olivier Descharnes, and is listed under archive number D2059_1942.
Literature: R. Descharnes & G. Néret, Salvador Dalí, 1904-1989, The Paintings, 1904-1946, Cologne, 2006, no. 807 (illustrated lor p. 356)
17 1/2 x 12 1/4 in. (44.5 x 31.1 cm)
Framed dimensions: 28 3/4 x 23 3/4 in.
915122

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Study for Soldier Take Warning (1942) by master artist Salvador Dalí was conceived at the height of his successful years in New York City. Along with various other European Surrealists, in 1940, Dalí and his wife Gala fled their beloved home in Paris due to the outbreak of World War II. Unsurprisingly, Dalí assumed a central role in the society of European Surrealists that sought refuge in New York City. During this time of “exile,” per say, Dalí’s artistic output surpassed the limitations of museum walls and began to infiltrate the realm of popular culture in the form of advertising campaigns and magazine illustrations. Study for Soldier Take Warning is not only a remarkable display of bold political propaganda, it is arguably one of the most significant representations of Dalí’s wartime iconography. Study for Soldier Take Warningis a rare, original study for Soldier Take Warning, a piece commissioned by the Office of War Information in Washington, D.C. in 1942, which was reproduced in various popular magazines. The study in its entirety (1940-1942) survives as a series of skull-like and disembodied head portraits that confront not only the horrors of World War II, but also Dalí’s own displacement as an exiled artist in America. Study for Soldier Take Warningeffectively communicates a message of fear, anxiety, and the dubious morality surrounding war in general.

On the left side of the composition, a young American soldier is portrayed in profile, gazing at two scantily clad female figures that occupy the distant middle ground. Though the soldier is in uniform, he appears innocent, honest and even pure. The pair of overtly sexualized women are pictured with their skirts lifted and heads down—symbols of their status as objects of desire. They tempt the soldier, drawing him into the haunting light that envelops them and into their nefarious clutches. On a surface level, the interaction between the soldier and pair of women may allude to the dangers of promiscuity. However, from a distance, the composition reads as a double-image with the girl’s bodies and the light above them transforming into a prominent skull. The camouflaged skull adds an element of impending doom to the piece, suggesting that an American soldier faces not only the threat of perversion, but death and decay too, while deployed overseas.

Dalí executes Study for Soldier Take Warningin intricate detail, loading the composition with timeless symbolism. The piece, still in pristine condition, joins Dalí’s own wartime fears and trepidations with those of people worldwide and while Study for Soldier Take Warning was contrived in 1942, the message that the composition conveys is enduring and maintains its relevance in contemporary war culture.

Le Sommeil, c. 1955 • Salvador DALÍ (1904-1989) 

Salvador DALÍ (1904-1989)
Le Sommeil, c. 1955 

Collage of photographic elements with gouache on a photographic base Annotated in red marker
This original work is executed on a photograph of the painting “Le Sommeil,” 1937, with collage elements from another photograph, taken under the direction of Dalí in the studio of the photographer Gjon Milli in New York.
The late Robert Descharnes confirmed the authenticity of this work.
11 5/8 x 15 3/4 in. (29.5 x 40 cm)
Framed dimensions: 31 1/4 x 34 7/8 in. 
914689 

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 The famed composition, Le Sommeil, or “Sleep,” (1937) by master artist Salvador Dalí survives as an integral image in the artist’s vast oeuvre. The piece, which includes much of the artist’s perplexing and widely-celebrated iconography, was initially rendered in oil on canvas—a composition which now belongs to a private collection. However, largely due to the groundbreaking success of the image in popular culture, the master later produced a highly coveted collage (featuring the original image adorned with touches of photographic elements and gouache paint on a photographic base). Due to the rarity of this collage, it remains a treasured composition as it is an original rendering in its own respect. Most notably, Dalí’s utilization of various mediums in the c. 1955 Sleep inspired composition reflects the artist’s unparalleled mastery of virtually every medium and remains highly sought after by private collectors—continuing to inspire awe in contemporary viewers worldwide. 

Famous for his wonderful and bizarre dreamscapes, Dalí’s Sleep collage is instantly recognizable as a Dalínian image. In many ways, the piece provides viewers with an intimate glimpse into the mind of the artist himself. Accordingly, the collage holds personal significance for Dalí, as the massive, disembodied head shown in the forefront of the piece is inspired by “the sleeping rock” at Cape Creus, Catalonia, Spain—where the artist spent a great deal of time. It is said that Dalí often regarded the magnificent geological formation as a tormented human head, sullenly pressing its extensive nose to the ground. However, the sleeping rock is not the only source of inspiration that Dalí drew from while designing the creature in Sleep—a figure known as “the great masturbator” which appears in countless Dalí paintings from this period. 

The artist too, was influenced by his own dreams and subconscious and in “The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí,” suggests, “I have often imagined the monster of sleep as a heavy, giant head with a tapering body held up by the crutches of reality. When the crutches break we have the sensation of falling.” 

Seemingly a personification of sleep itself, Dalí portrays the head in his collage as it is in the oil painting—suspended over a bleak Surrealist landscape by a system of wooden crutches that provide delicate leverage. In light of the head’s human features (nose and lips), it too, suggests the crutches to be metaphoric fixtures necessary to prop up a society steeped in decadence and excess—a unique symbolic gesture seen throughout the artist’s oeuvre. Moreover, the significance that Dalí places not only on the symbolism of the human subconscious, but also on the act of falling asleep itself, Sleep captures the distortion of the human body as it gradually collapses into deep-sleep. 

Building on the original oil painting, in his Sleep collage Dalí humorously accents the scene with a photo of himself conducting a team of painters and workers (apparently in the midst of completing a massive composition). The photograph, taken during an event at photographer Gjon Milli’s studio in New York, is animated with the frenetic energy of the crew and provides a comical contrast to the heavy comatose state of sleep. The image, which is placed on the top right corner of the collage, is embellished with careful strokes of paint and bordered (primarily near the top of the picture) with more bold strokes of blue paint. Dalí is exceptionally resourceful when it comes to accessing the visual language representative of the unearthly images that inhabit his subconscious. Moreover, the artist’s inclusion of this timeless photograph adds an intimate aspect of personalization to the collage—inviting viewers to join Dalí in his wild and wonderful adventures. 

At its core, Sleep is a perfect reminder of why Salvador Dalí remains one of the most prolific and celebrated artists in history. The eccentric and innovative works of Dalí perpetually walk a fine line between madness and genius—perhaps the reason for his enduring legacy. Of the endless variety of themes, theories, imagery and iconography that Dalí treats in his extensive oeuvre, the artist’s Sleep collage brilliantly incorporates some of his most celebrated symbols to form a humorous, yet profound tribute to the subconscious human mind. Galerie Michael is thrilled to present Sleep, a unique collage of great cultural significance and an essential addition to a private, museum quality collection. 

Exhibition History:

• Heidelberg, Ausstellung Schlob-Heidelberg (& travelling in Austria, Germany and Switzerland), Salvador Dalí, Bilder, Zeichnungen, Objekte, eine Ausstellung des     Museu Perrot-Moore, Cadaquès, 1981-82, no. 26 or no. 27, illustrated;
• Buenos Aires, Museo Nacional de Arte Decorativo, Dalí en Argentina, 1986, illustrated;
• São Paulo, Museu de Arte Moderna, Dalí no Brasil, 1986, illustrated;
• Toulouse, Réfectoire des Jacobins, Salvador Dalí, Huiles, Dessins, Sculptures, 1983-84, illustrated;
• Ithaca, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, A Private Eye: Dada, Surrealism and More from the Brandt Collection, 2006, p. 27, illustrated.