Listening to Art, by William Denton.
Volume two, number ten: Gala and the Angelus of Millet Immediately Preceding the Arrival of the Conic Anamorphoses by Salvador Dalí.
Hello, and welcome to Listening to Art. I’m William Denton.
Gala and the Angelus of Millet Immediately Preceding the Arrival of the Conic Anamorphoses dates from 1933. To introduce it, I quote from “The Second Conversation,” from Conversations with Dali, from 1966, by Alain Bosquet, translated into English in 1969 by Joachim Neugroschel (pp. 21–22):
A.B.: What, in your opinion, is the importance of painting in its most incontestable and most daring period, between 1928 and 1934? I have in mind a certain violently erotic canvas in André Breton’s possession.
S.D.: I’ve made cuckolds of everybody, especially the people who stayed with the first pictures of Surrealism. Only my latter-day paintings, and they alone, have an imperial ambition from an artistic point of view, and it’s only in them that I’ve integrated everything. This summer, I met the principal Pop and Op painters; in my last painting, I annexed everything new in those two forms of art, and at the same time I’ve rendered the tragic myth of Millet’s Angelus. From now on I shall never stop painting and repainting Millet’s Angelus.
A.B.: You haven’t given me a clear-cut answer: what position does painting occupy in your activities as a whole?
S.D.: Painting is only one of the means of expression of my total genius, which exists when I write, when I live, when in some way or other I manifest my magic.
A.B. What magic?
S.D.: At this very moment, a young lady whom I don’t know and who has just come in, perhaps to ask me questions in regard to a possible TV interview, is sitting next to us. Her knees are magnificent. And these knees of hers will be a point of departure for my magic. Later on, I’ll use them as an element in my painting, an extraordinary opus, the foundation of which will be her knees and her face. It can’t possibly fail. That’s my genius! Why, everything is in that transfiguration: you believe we’re going to collaborate on a book; she believes she’s going to drag me in front of a TV camera…. The world’s a cuckold from beginning to end. It’s important for my personality to draw from each instant the very tissue of my existence and of my capacity for self-regeneration. In this second, the center of the universe is located magically on the knees of this young lady who just happened to come here.
This is a painting, oil on canvas, 19.2 cm wide by 24.2 cm high.
Now let’s listen to Gala and the Angelus of Millet Immediately Preceding the Arrival of the Conic Anamorphoses by Salvador Dalí, recorded at the National Gallery of Canada, in Ottawa, on 10 March 2018.
That was Gala and the Angelus of Millet Immediately Preceding the Arrival of the Conic Anamorphoses by Salvador Dalí. I hope you enjoyed listening to it as much as I did.
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All web sites accessed as of date of publication.
Bosquet, Alain. Conversations with Dali. Translated by Joachim Neugroschel. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1969.
National Gallery of Canada. “Gala and the Angelus of Millet Immediately Preceding the Arrival of the Conic Anamorphoses.” National Gallery of Canada. https://www.gallery.ca/collection/artwork/gala-and-the-angelus-of-millet-immediately-preceding-the-arrival-of-the-conic.
Wikipedia, s.v. “Salvador Dalí,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvador_Dalí.