Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso come to Delhi in a classical package
A showcase of lithographs, etchings and drawings by Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso — two of the foremost 20th century masters of modern art — has brought to the country a couple of striking lithographs by Salvador Dali, "The Miserable Flat" and "Cecile Receives Germeuil Letters" that play on rainbow colours and story-telling. "The Miserable Flat" — from the suite of "Marquis de Sade" painted between 1967-1969 in bright shades of red, yellow and black is a theatrical reproduction of "existence" in a cramped flat — which is as artificial as the set of a stage play and the inhabitants are characters watching the enactment of life. It takes on Shakespearean maxim of the world as a stage and also from the "Spanish artist's dalliance with Nazsim: in his art.
The lithograph is one of the 25 that make up the incomplete Marquis De Sade suite - a series of lithographs that the artist created in 1969. "Cecile Receives Germeuil's Letter" is another lithograph from the Marquis de Sade suite that shows the tortured protagonist Cecile (named after his daughter) in a surreal setting. The suite named, "Three Plays by Marquis de Sade" is an allegory on his own life in war time Europe and United States. The suite includes visual parables like "Allegory Brave Cecile!", "Without Hope", "Marianne and the Chevalier Allegory, "The Chevalier's Dream of Cecile", "Protect Her from Misfortune's Mistakes", :"The Crime", :The Prison Allegory", "The Chevalier's Proposal", "Allegory Cecile's Chastity", "Merville and His Sons Reunited", "Panorama: The Siege of Jerusalem", "The Death of Clorinda", "Tancred's Choice", "Tancred's Oath", "The Obsequies for Clorinda", "The Arrival of Dumont", "Celise Receives Germeuil's Letter", "Adelaide's Promise", "Damis's Dilemma" and "All's Well that Ends Well". The lithographs run like a play — linking life with mythology, contemporary literature of the times and geopolitics. The two works on display are tributes to the Absurd Movement in European theatre that closely resembled the "isms" that Dali was occupied at the time— surrealism, existensialism, Dadism and to an extent Cubism. .
The Spanish painter of Catalan birth, known for his eccentric style, imbues the suite with a larger than life quality of characters and sequences — that reflect his grand posturing of life and the influence of his mentor Diego Velazquez . The suite has been auctioned in several reprints. The exposition puts Dali in context of his friend and "inspiration", Pablo Picasso, fellow Spanish master and the father of Cubism. A set of 14 etchings and sketches by PIcasso of human figures — of his trademark man and woman in various juxtaposition of the yin and the yiang energies and corpulent desires — explore styles ranging from the neo-classical. The works include masterpieces like such as Trois Baigneuses III (Three Bathers III) that pays tribute to Paul Cezanne’s work by the same title; and humorous works such as Vieux peintre avec une adolescente (Older Painter and seated nude wearing a brassier). Another important work is Figures/Personnages, a collage of figures in motion which ushers the beginning of Picasso’s famous "Blue Period". The exhibition opened at the Vadehra Art Gallery in New Delhi Feb 21-March 25.