Salvador Dalí, ‘Hommage a John F. Kennedy’, ca. 1965, RoGallery
Salvador Dalí, ‘Hommage a John F. Kennedy’, ca. 1965, RoGallery
Salvador Dalí, ‘Hommage a John F. Kennedy’, ca. 1965, RoGallery
Salvador Dalí, ‘Hommage a John F. Kennedy’, ca. 1965, RoGallery
Salvador Dalí, ‘Hommage a John F. Kennedy’, ca. 1965, RoGallery
Salvador Dalí, ‘Hommage a John F. Kennedy’, ca. 1965, RoGallery
Salvador Dalí, ‘Hommage a John F. Kennedy’, ca. 1965, RoGallery
Salvador Dalí, ‘Hommage a John F. Kennedy’, ca. 1965, RoGallery
Salvador Dalí, ‘Hommage a John F. Kennedy’, ca. 1965, RoGallery

Information on the sculpture from Sotheby's Impressionist & Modern Day Sale Catalog May 8th, 2014

This iconoclastic sculpture links two of the twentieth century’s most renowned figures: President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Salvador Dalí. Cast in wax and decorated with paperclips by the artist’s own hand, this bust provocatively blends Pop Art with Surrealism, inciting multiple possible interpretations. The paperclips covering the assassinated politician's features give the bust the appearance of a death mask, evoking the insects that creep across faces elsewhere in Dalí’s oeuvre to signify destruction and metamorphosis. More specifically, the use of stationery material here conjures notions of bureaucracy and power. During Kennedy’s political career, paperclips were also notoriously associated with "Operation Paperclip," a U.S. government program that aimed to bring prominent German scientists to the United States after World War II. Certain conspiracy theorists have ventured that these individuals may perhaps have been linked to Kennedy’s assassination and it is possible that Dalí is referencing these speculations here, utilizing his inimitable artistic approach to play upon the paranoia of the era.

Signature: Stamped signature and "Gi Bi Esse Verona Italia" with number inscribed

Reference: Figure 222 in "Dali Sculptures & Objects: The Hard and the Soft" by Descharnes, page 117

About Salvador Dalí

Salvador Dalí was a leading proponent of Surrealism, the 20-century avant-garde movement that sought to release the creative potential of the unconscious through strange, dream-like imagery. “Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision,” he said. Dalí is specially credited with the innovation of “paranoia-criticism,” a philosophy of art making he defined as “irrational understanding based on the interpretive-critical association of delirious phenomena.” In addition to meticulously painting fantastic compositions, such as The Accommodations of Desire (1929) and the melting clocks in his famed The Persistence of Memory (1931), Dalí was a prolific writer and early filmmaker, and cultivated an eccentric public persona with his flamboyant mustache, pet ocelot, and outlandish behavior and quips. “Each morning when I awake, I experience again a supreme pleasure,” he once said. “That of being Salvador Dalí.”

Spanish, 1904-1989, Figueres, Spain