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Salvador Dalí (1904-1989)

Le triomphe de Tourbillon

Salvador Dalí (1904-1989)
Le triomphe de Tourbillon
oil on canvas
12¼ x 15½ in. (31 x 39.5 cm.)
Painted in 1943
Peter Moore, Port Lligat, Spain.
Teatro-Museo Salvador Dalí, Figueres, Spain.
Anonymous sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 18 March 1988, lot 40.
Acquired at the above sale by the previous owner.
R. Descharnes & G. Néret, Salvador Dalí, The Paintings, Cologne 1994, no. 818 (illustrated p. 360).
Colmar, Musée Unterlinden, 1975.
Paris, Centre Cultural et Artistique de Montroge, Salon d'art contemporain de Montroge, May - June 1977.
Haute-Vienne, Château de Rochechouart, 1978.
Heidelberg, Heidelberger Schloss, 1981.
Vienna, Orangerie, Palais Auersperg, 1982.
Perpignan, Palais des Rois de Majorique, Hommage à Dalí, August - September 1982, no. 24 (illustrated).
Berlin, Zitadelle Spandau, 1984.
Montreux, Palais des Expositions, 1984.
Bern, Galerie Studer, Campagne Rosenberg, 1985.
Paris, Foire internationale d'art contemporain, 1988.
Madrid, Galeria Theo, Feria internacional de arte contemporáneo, 1989.
Sydney, Macquaries Galleries, From Picasso to Today, Masters of Twentieth Century Spanish Art, 1990 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Melbourne, Christine Abraham Gallery.
Tokyo, Galeria Theo, International Art Fair, 1991.
VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 17.5% on the buyer's premium.


In the early 1940s, Salvador Dalí announced in his recently published autobiography that the modernist tradition was dying and that a new era was being born. He himself, as he wrote in the introduction to an exhibition of his work at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York at this time, was renouncing the outworn traditions of Modernism in favour of the values of order, hierarchy and synthesis. 'Dalí' he said, 'has found once more the means of remaining alone and totally removing himself from that crowd of followers and imitators which he sees multiplying too rapidly about him, and he does this with a gesture of absolute originality, indeed, during these chaotic times of confusion, of rout and of growing demoralization, when the warmed over vermicelli of romanticism serves as daily food for the sordid dreams of the gutter rats of art and literature, Dalí himself, I repeat, finds the unique attitude towards his destiny: TO BECOME CLASSIC! As if he has said to himself: Now or Never' (Felipe Jacinto (Salvador Dalí), quoted in 'The Last Scandal of Salvador Dalí', Salvador Dalí, exh. cat., New York, 1941, unpaginated)

Painted in 1943, Le Triomphe de Tourbillon is one of a group of paintings that Dalí made in the mid-1940s on the theme of obscure allegories that fuse barren landscapes, classical motifs and dancing nudes into wondrous fantasy scenes, all rendered in the manner of stage-sets for the ballet. As with The Broken Bridge and the Dream and Autumn Sonata, two works now in the Dalí Museum in St Petersburg Florida, Le Triomphe de Tourbillon represents a combination of frenetic shoreline activity set against a ruined classical landscape.

The title of the picture appears to refer to the strange tempestuous gusts of wind blowing throughout the painting while the horse-drawn boat, sailing with these winds and seemingly on the point of flying, makes a second appearance in one of Dalí's largest and most ambitious paintings of this period, his impenetrably mysterious allegory, Apotheosis of Homer (Diurnal Dream of Gala) of 1944-5. A more complex working of the same kind of drama on the shoreline that Dalí begins to present in this work, his Apotheosis of Homer, he described similarly as a 'triumph', but as 'the triumph of all that is impossible to express except by an ultra-concrete image' (Salvador Dalí, quoted in Robert Descharnes, Salvador Dalí, New York, 1984, p. 286).