“Nude Ascending the Staircase: Homage to Marcel Duchamps” (a.k.a. “Nu Montant L’Escalier”),
Artist: Salvador Dali Medium: Bronze Sculpture (Spanish, 1904–1989) Movement: Contemporary Art: Surrealism
44/49 A.P. Offered by Diane Michel Private Collector of Fine Art Diane@Diane-Michel.com
Literature: Descharnes, Robert & Nicolas “Le Dur et le Mou” catalogue, pg. 162-163, Ref #412 The concept behind this piece is found in Nu Descendant un escalier, numero 2, a pre-Dadaist piece presented by Marcel Duchamp in the Dalmau Gallery in Barcelona in 1912 at the First Cubist exhibition held in Spain. Nothing could please Dali more, than to pay tribute to his friend Marcel Duchamp by creating the ironic opposite to the famous divisionist painting; hence this beautiful realistic body which reminds us in the form of Gala, climbing up the spirals in a marine shell, symbol of universal life and eternity. All together, the piece exudes reflection and eroticism.
Persistence of Memory painted by a young Salvador Dali in 1931 is considered to be an iconic masterpiece of modern surrealism. This universally recognized piece measures a mere 9 ½” x 13” but it’s impact upon the art world has been extraordinary.
The original painting is owned by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Rendered with impeccable detail giving homage to the classic masters, the painting catapulted Dali head first into an extraordinary career that spanned 6 decades. The iconic work is reflected in the cast bronze sculpture which is being offered here.
The Persistence of Memory is open to interpretation as it is thought and symbolism manifested into three dimensional reality. Symbols developed by the primal subconscious mind are given physical form. Dali clearly indicating with this sculpture that memory and time is anything but persistent. It is meticulously rendered with bronze that shows a rare fluidity of form that transcends the usual staunch rigidity of sculpture.
Dali was indeed a pioneer, being one of the first who interpreted dreams into a landscape environment with elements of reality mixed in. With this sculpture we see him casually draping time across the dead tree branch just as it is in his original masterpiece. The sculpture is an exciting exploration of the inner scape of man being brought forth into the touchable reality of the space we live in.
It is interesting to note that one of his most iconic paintings was produced in a time of great personal hardship. On 28 December 1929, Salvador Dalí’s father threw the 25-year-old painter out of the family home, and was also snubbed as an outcast by his village. Forced to live in a drafty old fishing cabin, with dank walls Dali worked through such a trying existence to create one of the most thought provoking paintings of the 20th century. Completed in August 1931, Pablo Picasso himself paid for Dali and his wife to accompany the work to a show in New York city.
Dalí attributed his “love of everything that is gilded and excessive, my passion for luxury and my love of oriental clothes” to an “Arab lineage”, claiming that his ancestors were descendants of the Moors. Dalí was highly imaginative, and also enjoyed indulging in unusual and grandiose behavior. To the dismay of those who held his work in high regard, and to the irritation of his critics, his eccentric manner and attention-grabbing public actions sometimes often drew more attention than his artwork.