Salvador Dalí, ‘Interesting letter by S. Dalì to A. Field’, 1956, Wallector

L.T.S. (Lettre dactylographiée signée) Typewritten Letter signed, on letter headed paper with double heading, central “The Salvador Dalì Catalogue”, top right “Compiler Albert Field, 20-25 29th Street, Astoria 5, N.Y.” addressed to Albert Field. Stylised signature with geometrisms by Dalì, occupying more than half the page, dated 1956. One page (27.8 x 21.5 cm). In English. Perfect condition with usual folds in the paper.
With this letter, in formal terms and on headed paper, Dalì appoints Albert Field as editor of his catalogue, which must be “complete and accurate”. The artist puts himself at the disposal of the archivist for any clarifications or information.

The background:
While the Catalonian artist is exhibiting his work at the National Gallery in Washington, he commissions the Official Catalogue of the Graphic Works of Salvador Dalì, a guide of the artist’s works for collectors, dealers, gallery owners and museums: an opus magnum encompassing 40 years of productivity comprising 1900 illustrations, of which 1500 in colour. Albert Field was the official archivist, as well as the topmost authority regarding Dalì’s work, discovering approximately 17 types of falsification, as he revealed to the St. Petersburg Times in 1987. The catalogue had therefore the function of uncovering the false Dalìs scattered around the world. However, Dalì himself reacted to the falsification phenomenon with “Someone who is subjected to forgery the way I am must really be fantastically good''. So, an eccentric genius like Dalì found a kindred spirit in Mr. Field, a teacher of English, science and mathematics and collector of playing cards, who having a passion for nudism and rambling combined his interests by climbing the Appalachian Trail completely naked. At the sight of “Dream of Venus”, a surrealist house of mirrors created in 1939 at the World Fair and again in Dalì’s retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in 1941, the attraction to the Catalonian artist became magnetic. They met in the 1940s and would often meet on a Sunday at the St. Regis Hotel, where an adulatory Field would show Dalì photographs of his works to examine and if he detected any forgeries the artist would write ‘fals’ (in Spanish) on the back. But it was not until 1955 that Dalì asked Mr. Field to be his official archivist, exactly one year before this letter. In this way a mammoth cataloguing work began, which saw Mr. Field travelling to Europe around forty times searching for authentic Dalì works, locating place and provenance of prints: a true mission, which he carried out until the end of his days.

F. NICOSIA, Dalì, Il Giornale, Milano, 2006 p.122

Signature: Typewritten Letter signed.

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