Naturaleza muerta (Still Life)

Salvador Dalí

Figueras, Girona, Spain, 1904 - 1989
  • Date: 
    1923 (circa)
  • Technique: 
    Oil on paperboard
  • Dimensions: 
    50 x 56 cm
  • Category: 
  • Entry date: 
  • Register number: 
  • Salvador Dalí Bequest, 1990

Over the course of 1923, the year Naturaleza muerta (Still Life) was produced, a series of events occurred that would culminate in Salvador Dalí’s imprisonment for over a month. The incident dates back to the refusal of the heads of the Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando to grant Daniel Vázquez Díaz the Chair of Painting, a decision the students subsequently opposed, with Dalí the leading the protests. The issue came to a head and concluded with the artist’s arrest and imprisonment after he had already travelled from Madrid to Catalonia. Once released, he remained in Cadaqués for the whole summer that year, devoting his time to reading and painting. During this period Dalí subscribed to the magazine L'Esprit nouveau, edited by Amédée Ozenfant and Le Corbusier, a publication that faithfully reflected Purism, in addition to other avant-garde trends. Quite possibly the constructive precision of Naturaleza muerta emanated from the theories divulged by the French magazine, although the imprint of other painters, for instance Juan Gris, can also be discerned. Apropos of this type of Purism-influenced compositions, Anna Maria Dalí (Salvador Dalí visto por su hermana [Salvador Dalí Seen Through the Eyes of His Sister], Juventud Publishing House, 1949) wrote: “[…] His Cubist paintings were a study of colours and forms which, far from having no other value than a beautiful and mere decorative interest, possessed a life of their own. And those that possessed no other sense but the quintessence of a still life or a figure, or pure expression of forms, colours and volumes, appeared divested of every other element that was not painting”.

Paloma Esteban Leal