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

Cristo del Vallés (Christ of Vallés)

Salvador Dalí (1904-1989)
Cristo del Vallés (Christ of Vallés)
signed and dated 'Gala Salvador Dalí 1962' (lower centre)
oil on canvas
36½ x 29 5/8 in. (92.8 x 75.4 cm.)
Painted in 1962
Acquired directly from the artist by 1964, and thence by descent to the present owner.
S. Takiguchi, Y. Tono & S. Ohoka, ed. (coop. R. Descharnes), Salvador Dalí, exh. cat., Tokyo, 1964, no. 63 (illustrated).
M. Gérard, Dalí, Paris, 1968, no. 110 (illustrated).
L. Romero, Todo Dalí en un rostro, Barcelona, 1975, no. 234 p. 192 (illustrated).
C. Rodríguez-Aguilera, Salvador Dalí, Barcelona, 1980, p. 126 (illustrated p. 28).
R. Gómez de la Serna, Dalí, London, 1984, pp. 162 & 237 (illustrated p. 165).
Exh. cat., Dalí Scultore, Dalí Illustratore, Stratton, 1989, p. 287.
L. Romero, Psicodálico Dalí, Barcelona, 1991, p. 194.
Exh. cat, Dalí, The Centenary Retrospective, London, 2004, p. 527.
Barcelona, Antiguo Hospital de la Santa Cruz, Exposición-venta de obras de arte donadas por artistas pro damnificados del Vallés, December 1962 (illustrated).
Tokyo, Prince Hotel Gallery (organised with the cooperation of Robert Descharnes), Salvador Dalí, September - October 1964, no. 63 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Nagoya, Prefectural Museum of Art, October 1964; and Kyoto, Municipal Art Gallery, November 1964.
New York, Gallery of Modern Art, Salvador Dalí, 1910-1965, December 1965 - February 1966, no. 161.
Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie, Salvador Dalí, May - July 1989, no. 271 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Zurich, Kunsthaus, August - October 1989.
Berlin, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Gegenwart Ewigkeit, April - June 1990. Turin, Fondazione Palazzo Bricherasio, Salvador Dalí: la vita è sogno, November 1996 - March 1997 (illustrated).
Bruges, Stichting Sint-Jan, Salvador Dalí, July - November 1997, no. 1, p. 77 (illustrated).
Augsburg, Römisches Museum, Dalí, Mara e Beppe: Bilder einer Freundschaft, September - November 2000 (illustrated).
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.


Adrienne Everwijn-Dumas
Adrienne Everwijn-Dumas


'If the physicists are producing anti-matter, let it be allowed to the painters, already specialists in angels, to paint it' (Salvador Dalí, 'Anti Matter Manifesto' 1958, reproduced in H. Finkelstein, ed., The Collected Writings of Salvador Dalí, Cambridge, 1998, p. 366).

Painted in 1962, Christo del Vallés is one of a sequence of ecstatic visions of Christ that Salvador Dalí painted in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Originating in his concept of 'Nuclear Mysticism' (a unique Dalinean blend of atomic theory and Catholicism) and paintings such as his 1951 Christ of St. John of the Cross and Corpus Hypercubus of 1954, Dalí's Christian visions had, by the early 1960s, become inexorably intertwined with his new enthusiasm for Francis Crick and James Watson's recent discovery of the molecular structure of DNA.

Cristo del Vallés is the first of two major paintings made by Dalí between 1962 and 1963 depicting a dematerialized Christ appearing in the sky over the Catalan valley of Vallés that were made in direct response to Dalí's new-found interest in Crick and Watson and also to a disastrous freak flood that had taken place in the area on 25 September 1962. The second of these works, which bears the impossible title of Galacidalacidesoxyribonucleicacid, also bears the subtitle Homage to Crick and Watson and depicts DNA molecules forming and disintegrating beneath a celestial vision of Christ being dragged up to heaven above the valley. Cristo del Vallés is a simpler work, derived originally from the vision of St Theresa of Ávila, that depicts the crucified Christ seemingly materializing out of, or dematerializing into, the clouds over the valley.

The concept of a dematerializing Christ was important to Dalí in both the context of what he believed to be the essence of life being transmitted through immaterial entities of DNA molecules and also in the sense of his complete opposition, at this time, to materialism. Inspired by his new interest in physics, Dalí was convinced that the age of materialism was at an end and that the new discoveries in science would lead a younger generation back to a religious faith and to mysticism. Immediately after completing work on his Christ of St. John of the Cross in 1951, for instance, Dalí had written his Mystical Manifesto, 'I want my next Christ to be the painting containing the most beauty and joy of anything anyone has painted up to the present day. I want to paint the Christ who will be the absolute antithesis of the materialist and savagely anti-mystical Christ of Grünewald' (Salvador Dalí, Mystical Manifesto, 1951, reproduced in H. Finkelstein, op. cit., p. 366)

Dalí appears to have been at work on Cristo del Vallés at the time that the flood devastated the area and to have subsequently adapted it to relate to the disaster - the image of the crucified Christ appearing in the sky above the valley a suitable and potent symbol of salvation through suffering. In order to render Christ as an immaterial entity, Dalí has employed a new technique in this painting. Following on from a series of experimentations in a variety of media that culminated in his highly material splashed and dripped paintings of Arabs made in preparation for his great painting of The Battle of Tetuan, Dalí here employs a highly thinned oil paint mixed with turpentine, to stain the canvas in varying degrees of intensity and opacity. In this way the giant spectre of Christ appears to be merging with the clouds above the valley in the manner of an Old Master painting such as Goya's Colossus. Only the Crown of Thorns and the bleeding spear wound in the side of the immaterial body of Christ are rendered with Dalí's characteristic sharp hyper-realist clarity, along with the lone figure of a bishop praying before the vision in the foreground of the painting.

On completion of the work Dalí donated it to the exhibition-sale of works offered by a range of artists in order to raise funds for the inhabitants of the Vallés region in the wake of the flood. This exhibition was open to the public from 1-16 December in the Gothic Room of the Antiguo Hospital de la Santa Cruz, Barcelona. The painting was bought by the family of the present owner directly from Dalí at this exhibition.