Salvador Dalí (Spanish, 1904-1989) Le cheval à la montre molle  141cm (55 1/2in) (height)

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Lot 19* AR
Salvador Dalí
(Spanish, 1904-1989)
Le cheval à la montre molle 141cm (55 1/2in) (height)

Sold for £ 289,250 (US$ 378,764) inc. premium
Salvador Dalí (Spanish, 1904-1989)
Le cheval à la montre molle
numbered '5/8' (on the far right of the base)
bronze with gold and brown patina
141cm (55 1/2in) (height)
Conceived in 1980 and cast by the Perseo Foundry in a numbered edition of eight plus four épreuves d'artiste


    Important private collection, Switzerland.

    Naples, Museo di Palazzo Reale, Dalí Scultore Dalí Illustratore, 1989.
    Ferrara, Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna, Dalí, 1989.
    Rome, Accademia Spagnola di Belle Arti, Dalí Scultore Dalí Illustratore, 1989.
    Genoa, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Dalí, 1991.
    Toulouse, Musée d'Art Moderne, Dalí Retrospectif, 1994.
    Berlin, Grosse Orangerie des Schlosses- Charlottenburg, Dalí 500 Meisterwerks, 1996.
    Heidelburg, Schloss Heidelberg, Dalí, 1997.
    Oviedo, Centro de Arte Moderno, La Mirada de un Genio Dalí 1904-89, 1998.
    Palermo, Palazzo dei Normani, Dalí, 1999.
    Copenhagen, Arken Museum of Modern Art, Dalí, 1999.
    London, County Hall Gallery, The Dalí Universe, 2000-2010.
    Guangzhou, Guangdong Museum of Art, Dalí: A Journey into Fantasy, 2002. Beijing, China Millennium Monument, Dalí: A Journey into Fantasy, 2002. Shanghai, Shanghai Urban Planning Center, Dalí: A Journey into Fantasy, 2002-2003.
    Wuhan, Wuhan International Urban Planning Center, Dalí: A Journey into Fantasy, 2003.
    Lavardens, Chateau Lavardens, L'Univers de Dalí, 2004.
    Seoul, Seoul Arts Center, Dali, 2004.
    Boat Quay, Singapore, 2006.
    Sumaya Museum, Mexico City, 2008.
    Shanghai, Zendai MOMA Museum, 2009.
    Courchevel, Open Air Exhibition, Dalí au Sommet, 2009-2010.
    Bahrain, Opera Gallery at the Bahrain Financial Harbour, 2011.
    Dubai, Opera Gallery at Dubai Mall, 2011.
    Singapore, Art Science Museum at Marina Bay Sands, Dalí: Mind of a Genius, 2011.

    La Mirada de un Genio Dalí, exh. cat., Ayuntamento de Oviedo, Oviedo, 1998 (illustration of another cast p.253).
    Dalí, exh. cat., Stratton Foundation, Milan, 1999 (illustration of another cast p.78)
    The Dalí Universe, 2000 (illustration of another cast pp.36-37).
    Dalí: A Journey into Fantasy, Shanghai Urban Planning Center, exh. cat., Shanghai, 2002-2003 pp.54-55.
    L'Univers de Dalí, exh. cat., Chateau Lavardens, Lavardens, 2004, (illustration of another cast p.44-45).
    Dalí in Singapore, exh. cat., Opera Gallery, Singapore, 2006 (illustration of another cast pp.28-29).
    B. Levi, Salvador Dali' in Shanghai, exh. cat., The Shanghai Art Museum, 2009 (illustration of another cast pp.62-63).
    U. Alemandi & C., Torino, Dali in the Third Dimension, The Stratton Foundation Collection, Turin, 2010 (illustration of another cast pp.82–83).
    Awaken your imagination in Bahrain, exh. cat., Opera Gallery, Dubai, 2011 (illustration of another cast p.19).
    Dalí: Mind of a Genius, exh. cat., Art Science Museum at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, 2011 (illustration of another cast p.73).

    Conceived in 1980, Le cheval à la montre molle illustrates Dalí's preoccupation with time and forces the viewer to acknowledge his own mortality. The bucking horse is saddled with Dalí's infamous melting clock, a symbol which first appeared in his 1931 work, La persistance de la mémoire. Now a universally recognised image, the artist's inspiration for the soft watch originally came from studying a melting cheese. Having finished a meal with a strong camembert one evening, Dalí remained behind at the dinner table with a headache whilst his wife Gala and their friends left for the cinema. 'Meditating on the philosophic problems of the 'supersoft' which the cheese presented to my mind', Dalí added soft watches to his rocky landscape, thus completing the well-known composition. (Dalí quoted in R. Descharnes & G. Néret, Salvador Dalí 1904-1989, The Paintings, Cologne, 2007, vol.I, p.173).

    The juxtaposition of soft and hard is continued in the present work, where the unnaturally soft form of the melting clock-face drapes over the strong body of the horse, whose vibrancy is enhanced by the faceted modelling of his muscles. While the horse is full of movement, attempting to rear up and dislodge this unwelcome burden, time sits heavily and inertly upon him.

    The weight of time was also a burden Dalí attempted to dislodge, as the artist constantly researched theories about life after death. He published Dix recettes pour l'immortalité in 1973, initially declaring that he wished his body to be frozen after death before attempting to dehydrate himself in order to attain immortality. His very experimentation with sculpture can be linked to this preoccupation, as he explored the potential of three dimensional objects and holograms in order 'to move on into the fourth dimension and thus into immortality.' (R. Descharnes & G. Néret, Salvador Dalí 1904-1989, The Paintings, Cologne, 2007, vol.II, p.661).

    Part of the Gotham Collection, this sculpture was one of several to be turned into editions, created from original paintings and models and whose themes were derived from familiar Dalían symbols. The casting of the bronzes was supervised by Beniamino Levi, President of the Stratton Foundation. Robert Descharnes recalls witnessing the creation of the original model for the Cheval sellé avec le temps:

    'A little before 1980, Beniamino Levi asked Dalí for a sculpture of a horse. He immediately started to mould the animal by working on a wooden model with joints that he patiently wound up in a web of white wax. Seated next to him in the salon of the Hotel Meurice, I was charged with preparing the white wax while observing through the corner of my eye the birth of what should have been a firey stallion. Yet it was still a bandage. And then, little by little, kneaded by the thumbs of the artist, the small layers of wax gave birth to the horse. To finish the sculpture, Dalí moulded a soft watch like a saddle. At the end of the day, after five hours of work, the model was ready to go to the foundry.' (R. & N. Descharnes, The Hard and the Soft: Spells for the Magic of Form – Sculptures and Objects, Azay-le-Rideau, 2004, p.237).
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