Last published in 1978, The Wines of Gala is Salvador Dalí’s eccentric guide to wine grapes and their origin. Filled with over 140 appropriated artworks and collages collected and created by Dalí, the book is an equally surreal follow-up to TASCHEN’s reprinting of the artist’s cookbook Les Diners de Gala. In addition to Jean-François Millet’s The Angelus, which was a constant point of reference in Dali’s works, visuals include a Bacchus-like kitten and a sort of tableau vivant featuring Dali himself.
Many of these are appropriated artworks, including various classical nudes, all of them reconstructed with suitably Surrealist, provocative touches, like Jean-François Millet’s The Angelus, one of Dalí’s favorite points of reference over the decades. Dalí also included what is now considered one of the greatest works from his late “Nuclear Mystic” phase, The Sacrament of the Last Supper (1955), which sets the iconic biblical scene in a translucent dodecahedron-shaped space before a Catalonian coastal landscape. Dalí was by this stage a devout Catholic, simultaneously captivated by science, optical illusion, and the atomic age.
The first section is dedicated to “Ten Divine Dalí Wines,” an overview of 10 important wine-growing regions, while the second develops Dalí’s revolutionary ordering of wine by the emotional experience, instead of by geography or variety. Rather than any prescriptive classification, it’s a flamboyant, free-flowing manifesto in favor of taste and feeling, as much a multisensory treat as a full-bodied document of Dalí’s late-stage oeuvre, in which the artist both reflected on formative influences and refined his own cultural legacy.
In keeping with Dalí’s efforts to create artwork based on his emotions, memories, and dreams, the artist chose to organize the wines in the book by how they influenced his mood. The groupings are appropriately imaginative classifications including such section titles as “Wines of Frivolity,” “Wines of the Impossible,” and “Wines of Light.” A section in the book also outlines Dalí’s method of ordering wine by the emotional experience, quoting the artist’s famous credo: “A real connoisseur does not drink wine but tastes of its secrets.”