SALVADOR DALÍ (1904-1989)
SALVADOR DALÍ (1904-1989)
SALVADOR DALÍ (1904-1989)
SALVADOR DALÍ (1904-1989)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… 显示更多 THE PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE BELGIAN COLLECTOR
SALVADOR DALÍ (1904-1989)

Le voyage fantastique

SALVADOR DALÍ (1904-1989)
Le voyage fantastique
signed twice and dated 'Dalí 1965' (lower left)
gouache, watercolour, brush and India ink, coloured pencils and pencil on board
39 7/8 x 60 1/8 in. (101.2 x 152.7 cm.)
Executed in 1965
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, by whom acquired directly from the artist.
Anonymous sale, Doyle, New York, 22 September 1982, lot 63.
Private collection, Europe; sale, Christie's, London, The Art of the Surreal, 6 February 2007, lot 140.
Private collection, by whom acquired at the above sale; sale, Sotheby's, New York, 2 November 2011, lot 5.
Acquired at the above sale; sale, Christie's, London, The Art of the Surreal, 2 February 2016, lot 132.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Exh. cat, Dalí, Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2012, p. 19 (detail of the work illustrated in an unfinished state).
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.
This work is sold with a photo-certificate from the late Robert Descharnes.


Ottavia Marchitelli
Ottavia Marchitelli Senior Specialist, Head of The Art of The Surreal Sale


Le voyage fantastique is a hallucinatory portrait made at the height of Salvador Dalí’s so-called ‘Pop’ period which took place over the winter of 1964-1965 while he was in New York. The painting was created as part of the promotional material for the 1966 film Fantastic Voyage, which starred Stephen Boyd, Donald Pleasence, and Raquel Welch. Early in 1965 Dalí had been asked by Twentieth Century Fox to oversee the artistic production for this pioneering science fiction extravaganza, an exciting opportunity for an artist who had always loved the movies. Indeed, he had grown up during the golden age of silent film; it was an era in which film occupied a hallowed space, where every town had a cinema.
Throughout his life, Dalí stayed abreast of technological developments in cinema, watching as sound and colour changed the medium – and the world. He was intrigued by film's potential as it offered new ways for seeing, a compliment to Surrealism’s own aims: ‘Knowing how to look is a way of inventing,’ he noted. ‘The camera has immediate practical possibilities, for new themes where painting necessarily remains only in experience and understanding. Photography glides with continual imagination over new events, which in the pictorial realm have only possibilities for being signs’ (S. Dalí quoted in ‘La fotografía, pura creacio de l’esperít L’Amie Ide les arts, Sitges, 30 September 1927, reprinted in M. Gale (ed.), Dalí & Film, exh. cat., Tate Modern, London 2007, p.17). Dalí would go on to be involved in two landmark and masterful Surrealist films: Un chien andalou, made in 1929, and the subsequent L’Age d’or from 1930.
Diving headfirst into his new role on set, Dalí painted Le voyage fantastique, which unites many of the elements of the film’s plot using several of his most recent painterly fascinations. Foremost among these is the computer-based printing technique which Dalí had transformed into a new optical style in such works as Portrait of my Dead Brother, 1963. Like several contemporary Pop artists including Sigmar Polke and Roy Lichtenstein, Dalí had begun to experiment with raster dots as a method to render his imagery. Instead of utilizing the technology of the era, however, he painted his spheres by hand à la Georges Seurat, transforming the raster dots into molecule-like particles that recalled those used previously in his ‘Nuclear mystical’ paintings of the 1950s.
In Le voyage fantastique the dots form a flat field, echoing op-art compositions whose patterns dissolve and recombine to produce a new image – in the case of the present work, that of Welch, her face and body. Here she appears to liquify, transmogrifying into particles whose trajectory echoes that of the film’s narrative: ‘Fantastic Voyage’ tells the story of a submarine crew who, against all odds, are shrunk to microscopic proportions and sent on an epic journey into the body of a wounded scientist whose brain damage they hope to repair. As the film poster boldly declared, they were ‘four men and one woman on the most fantastic, spectacular and terrifying journey of their lives…’
Dalí’s painting of the subject seems to articulate this spellbinding transformation. Le voyage fantastique is divided in two: In one section, the abstracted, oversized face of Welch melts into the figure of the sick scientist, while to the left, spacesuit-clad figures prepare to be injected into the man’s brain. It is a hallucinogenic marriage of form and colour. Adding to the strange, fantastical scene is a sequence of numbers which mysteriously adorns the painting, not to mention, in a truly Surrealist joke, the patient sports another, particularly Dalínean feature, that of an extremely elaborate and full moustache.
According to photographer David McCabe, who visited Dalí while he was working on Le voyage fantastique, Andy Warhol was also around at the time the present lot was created. Indeed, the work is one of several paintings that Dalí made in his hotel suite at the St Regis; he turned one of the rooms into a studio-meets-hangout space, what he would refer to as his ‘humble atelier for the fabrication of dollars’ (D. McCabe, A Year in the Life of Andy Warhol, New York, 2003, p. 38). There Dalí hung Le voyage fantastique next to his largest and most significant painting of this period, the expansive Apotheosis of the Dollar, held in the collection of the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres.
In a series of photographs, McCabe documented what was, by all accounts, an awkward meeting between Warhol and Dalí, the two most eccentric members of the 1960s New York art scene. Recalling later this encounter in his book, A Year in the Life of Andy Warhol, McCabe wrote: ‘I went with Andy to see Dalí at the St. Regis Hotel. Dalí used to paint his suite at the St. Regis. He was working on two enormous paintings at the time. He greeted us at the door, ordered up all sorts of lavish room service - bottles of wine and so on - and that was that. After ‘Hello, welcome to my humble atelier for the fabrication of dollars’ or whatever folderol Dalí was putting out that day, Dalí and Andy barely said another word to each other. It was not possible. The music was playing so loudly. He had grand opera blasting at ear-splitting level. To add to the chaos, Dalí had picked up a stray cat on the street. It was wild, totally feral, and it was bouncing off the walls, bouncing off his paintings, careening off everything in the room. Dalí would grab it and try to hold it, but he’d have to let it go because it was trying to claw him. Dalí was in shock, I think, because he loved cats. It was a hair-raising situation. Andy was just stunned. It was the first time I’d seen Andy drink. He was slugging back white wine. Dalí turned the whole event into theatre, and Andy wasn’t theatrical in that way. At one point Dalí grabbed this elaborate Inca headdress that he had been using as a prop - you can see its outline in that painting behind him - and put the headdress on Andy. He positioned himself very melodramatically behind Andy still wearing the silly-looking headdress, glared into the camera, and gestured wildly with his walking stick. A total Dalí performance. Theatre of the Absurd. Gala drifted in and out. At one point, I remember Dalí gesturing to her menacingly with his walking stick, as if to say that she shouldn’t be in the photograph. Dalí took over the situation outrageously. He just staged the whole thing. Andy was petrified. He sat there frozen, like a statue, utterly speechless. He couldn’t have spoken anyway, because the volume of the music was so loud. An ingenious way Dalí had perhaps devised to avoid having to talk to anyone. But of course with Andy he needn’t have worried. Andy wouldn’t have said anything anyway’ (D. McCabe, A Year in the Life of Andy Warhol, pp. 38-39).
The Fantastic Voyage was far from Dalí’s only collaboration with Hollywood and the film industry, work which resulted in some of the most visually decadent and fantastical films produced during the 20th century, from Walt Disney’s Destino, an animated short film which follows Chronos and his ill-fated love, to Spellbound by Alfred Hitchcock. Dalí’s own film projects, which varied from full scenarios to dashed off notes, covered all sorts of subjects. He wanted to take on everything, and it would seem that, for an artist who delved into the subconscious, film allowed for disparate connections and exaggerated associations, where a dream world could best be realised. Film opened new portals and new realities; it presented a realm in which his mind could take flight.

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