Salvador Dalí's passion for cinema is at the center of an upcoming auction

·2-min read
Salvador Dalí, "Machine à coudre avec parapluies dans un paysage surréaliste" (1941)

Salvador Dalí is known as one of the major figures of surrealism, but his credentials as a film buff are less known. A sale organized by Artcurial intends to remedy this at the end of June, by offering up for auction an oil on panel created by the Spanish painter for the 1942 film "Moontide."

Dalí became interested in cinematographic processes at the time of his involvement in the Surrealist movement, as demonstrated by "Machine à coudre avec parapluies dans un paysage surréaliste" ("Sewing machine with umbrellas in a Surrealist landscape"). This painting was a project for a film noir entitled "Moontide," set to be directed by Fritz Lang but ultimately directed by Archie Mayo in 1942.

In this oil work painted on a panel, Dalí has painted a dream scene, creating an atmosphere of fear with the disproportionate shadows of the sewing machine and the umbrellas which seem to advance on the square. The Spanish artist uses a dark palette, of half-tones, essentially oriented towards hues of gray, black and light brown.

The master of surrealism was fascinated by cinema from an early age and met with top directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, Walt Disney and Vincente Minnelli. American and international filmmakers even asked him to create brief sequences of nightmare for several films, including Buñuel's "Un chien andalou" and "L'Âge d'or," Hitchcok's "Spellbound" and Walt Disney collaboration "Destino."

"Machine à coudre avec parapluies dans un paysage surréaliste" will be offered for auction during the "Impressionist & Modern Art" sale, which will be held on June 29 in the Paris galleries of Artcurial. It is estimated to fetch between 1.8 and 2.2 million euros. This amount is well below the record price for a Salvador Dalí work, which was set in 2011 at Sotheby's London. At that time, an anonymous buyer acquired "Portrait of Paul Eluard" for more than 13 million pounds (or 15.8 million euros).

Bidding for "Sewing Machine with Umbrellas in a Surrealist Landscape" could climb, however, given the collectors' infatuation with Dalí. According to Sotheby's Mei Moses Index, the resale value of the artist's works increased by an average of 7.3% between 2003 and 2017. A trend that should continue this year.

Caroline Drzewinski

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