An intriguing late 20th Century bronze study of a half man, half bird figure standing on a four legged stooll. The surface of the bronze patinaed with a deep green colour heightened with bright gilding. Signed Dali numbered 239/350 and stamped.
The theme of the birdman comes from antiquity. In ancient Egypt he appeared as Horus, a God with a man’s body and the head of a heron. Dalí combines two incongruous parts substituting the head of a human figure with the head of a heron, making the human half bird and the bird half-human. One cannot distinguish which of the two is dominant. Man is not always that which he appears, Dalí wants to leave us in doubt, it is his game. The smooth polished surface of the sculpture’s body is contrasted by the naturally unworked beak and head. From one arm dangles a length of a cloth, and another piece seems to be swept back from his head by a breeze depicting the need for modern accoutrements. On the back of the figure, Dalí has moulded further unexplained draperies emphasizing modern man’s dependence on material possessions.
Dali Early Life
Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech was born on 11 May 1904, at 8:45 am GMT, at the 1st floor of Carrer Monturiol, 20 (presently 6), in the town of Figueres, in the Empordà region, close to the French border in Catalonia, Spain. In the Summer of 1912, the family moved to the top floor of Carrer Monturiol 24 (presently 10). His older brother, who had also been named Salvador (born 12 October 1901), had died of gastroenteritis nine months earlier, on 1 August 1903. His father, Salvador Dalí i Cusí, was a middle-class lawyer and notary whose strict disciplinary approach was tempered by his wife, Felipa Domenech Ferrés, who encouraged her son’s artistic endeavors.
When he was five, he was taken to his brother’s grave and told by his parents that he was his brother’s reincarnation, a concept which he came to believe. Of his brother, Dalí said, “… [we] resembled each other like two drops of water, but we had different reflections.” He “was probably a first version of myself but conceived too much in the absolute.” Images of his long-dead brother would reappear embedded in his later works, including Portrait of My Dead Brother (1963).
He also had a sister, Anna Maria, who was three years younger. In 1949, she published a book about her brother, Dalí As Seen By His Sister. His childhood friends included future FC Barcelona footballers Sagibarba and Josep Samitier. During holidays at the Catalan resort of Cadaqués, the trio played football (soccer) together.
He attended drawing school. In 1916, he also discovered modern painting on a summer vacation trip to Cadaqués with the family of Ramon Pichot, a local artist who made regular trips to Paris. The next year, Dalí’s father organized an exhibition of his charcoal drawings in their family home. He had his first public exhibition at the Municipal Theatre in Figueres in 1919, a site he would return to decades later.
In February 1921, Dalí’s mother died of breast cancer. Dalí was 16 years old; he later said his mother’s death “was the greatest blow I had experienced in my life. I worshipped her… I could not resign myself to the loss of a being on whom I counted to make invisible the unavoidable blemishes of my soul.” After her death, Dalí’s father married his deceased wife’s sister. Dalí did not resent this marriage, because he had a great love and respect for his aunt.
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