Trio of Salvador Dalí sculptures to headline UK summer art festival

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A small town in the west of England has bagged three sculptures by the late Surrealist Salvador Dalí for an event this summer. The works due to go on show are Homage to Terpsichore (conceived in 1977, first cast in 1984); Surrealist Piano (conceived in 1954, first cast in 1984) and Dalínian Dancer (conceived in 1949, first cast in 1984). The trio of sculptures—loaned by the Dalí Universe organisation based in Balerna, Switzerland—will form the centrepiece of the Shrewsbury Arts Trail (1 June-31 August) according to the Observer.

The theme of the 2023 trail is “movement” inspired by the late local dancer and choreographer John Weaver (1673-1760). A spokesperson for the Dalí Universe tells The Art Newspaper: “The sculpture trail exhibition concept seemed to lend itself to sculptures in the third dimension and to Salvador Dalí in general. Dalí was fascinated with the art of dance and it was of great significance in his life and work. The sculpture selection submitted by The Dalí Universe explore the full range of feelings and emotions related to dance and movement.”

The backdrop of the medieval castle was another key factor in the organisation’s decision to work with the town of Shrewsbury, she adds. “Dalí himself bought and renovated an actual castle, Castle de Púbol, for his wife and muse Gala. We are excited to see the Surrealist Piano displayed in a picturesque castle-context.” Crucially, she adds that the sculptures are “insured and will continue to be insured on site at Shrewsbury during the length of the event”.

Salvador Dalí’s Surrealist Piano (conceived in 1954, first cast in 1984)

© AIP Art Investment Partners SL

In the sculpture Surrealist Piano, Dalí transforms the image of a grand piano into a surreal dancing object. The traditional wooden legs of the piano are replaced with female legs, booted feet and skirted frills. Meanwhile, “in his representation of Terpsichore, Dalí uses a reflected image, setting the soft, carnal muse against her ‘shadow’, the hardened, statuesque one,” says the spokesperson. In Dalínian Dancer, “the faceless figure, a recurring motif in Dalí’s oeuvre, lures us in with her intense rhythm”.

“The Dalí Universe does charge rental fees for exhibition loans of our large, very valuable, Salvador Dalí sculptures. Shrewsbury Arts Trail is a non-profit focused community interest company working to promote cultural awareness in the community. On this occasion the Dalí Universe decided to waiver the rental fee because of our interest in the exhibition location and exhibition theme. We wanted to support the work being carried out by Shrewsbury Arts Trail,” the spokesperson adds.

Salvador Dalí’s Homage to Terpsichore (conceived in 1977, first cast in 1984)

© AIP Art Investment Partners SL

On its website, The Dalí Universe describes itself as “a company specialising in Salvador Dalí, managing one of the largest private collections of Dalí artworks in the world”. The organisation is headed by Beniamino Levi, an Italian art dealer and collector who worked with Dalí during the 1960s. “The Dalí Universe, in conjunction with Art Investment Partners SL., is the editor and distributor of Dalí multiple sculpture editions [accompanied by certificates of authenticity],” the website says.

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