Salvador Dalí (1904-1989)
Salvador Dalí (1904-1989)

Les mille et une grâce des mille et un jours de l'Alhambra

Salvador Dalí (1904-1989)
Les mille et une grâce des mille et un jours de l'Alhambra
signed and indistinctly dated 'Dali 1973' (lower right)
gold paint, gouache, watercolour, charcoal and mixed media collage on paper laid down on canvas
98½ x 40¾ in. (249.2 x 103.5 cm.)
Executed in 1973
Private collection, Paris, by whom acquired directly from the artist, and thence by descent to the present owner.


Robert and Nicolas Descharnes have confirmed the authenticity of this work.

Painted in Port Lligat in the summer of 1973 and finished in November of the same year, Les milles et une gr<->ace des mille et un jours de l'Ahambra is one of a series of nude portraits Dali made at this time inspired by his muse Amanda Lear. Often taking the form of transfers and imprints of her naked form augmented by Dali's painting, this large and fully-worked pigments of her nude figure both seemingly dissolving into and emerging from a mist of veils invokes in its spirit and in its title the tales of Scheherazade and the mystery of the east. An invocation of the dance of the seven veils or of a nostalgia for the magical orientalism, so typified in Dali's Spain by dreams of Andalusia's illustrious Moorish past and of the glories of the Alhambra, this work also echoes another of Dali's persistent obsessions, the Venus de Milo.

Indeed this exotic orientalist portrait of the nude Amanda, like another painting from this period, Roger délivrant Angelique, in which she appears in a similar pose, has its origins in Dali's earlier obsession with this classical sculpture. It was an obsession he first explored by creating a replica of the sculpture and inserting it with drawers in 1936 in his Venus de Milo aux tiroirs, and which was to have its fullest expression in his late 1960s hallucinogenic masterpiece The Hallucenogenic Toreador of 1968-70.

Presenting a similar dreamscape-like scene in this life-size invocation of a beautiful female nude, seemingly being born from or enveloped by an oriental mist of veils, this work too appears to be an altarpiece to a particular idealized vision of a lost Spain, rooted in the myth of Venus.