100 Flowers by Salvador Dali
Original Etching. 1968. 38 cm x 28 cm.
Suite of 8 original etchings reworked in drypoint. Published in 1968. 11″ x 15″.
Poems By Mao Zedong
In the midst of the Cultural Revolution in China, soon followed by the May 1968 riots in France, Pierre Argillet brought the book of “Poems” by Mao Zedong to Dali. Tickled, the artist decided to create eight illustrations, some of which were political satires. The “Hundred Flowers” are shown as towering fleurs-de-lis, symbols of royalty, with people attempting to reach them. Crowns emerge from the “River of Plenty.” When Argillet asked Dali why his “Bust of Mao” was a headless Chinese uniform, Dali replied: “Well, the man is so tall that he didn’t fit on the page!”. – “And what about these small dancing “Demons?” – “To the Chinese, they are Japanese!”. The “Dragon” is a female monster, the “Three Mountains of Peace” are hardly larger than rocks, and the “Tortoise Mounts”, shown as gigantic, antediluvian animals, wander in the midst of excrement resembling the Yin and Yang symbol. As to the splendid ”Small Horses”, their pirouettes call to mind the Renaissance period, but also the longing for freedom.
From The Salvador Dali Argillet Collection.
Pierre Argillet Collection
Salvador Dali was one of the most brilliantly provocative artists of the twentieth century, working in Spain, France and the United States. His genius is captured in original lithography through his collaboration with Publisher Pierre Argillet who became a confidante and lifelong friend after their meeting in 1934.
Pierre Argillet was an avid collector of works by Futurists, Dadaists and Surrealists, meeting with the major artists of the 20th century. Argillet commissioned Dali to illustrate: Greek Mythology; Hippies; Poems by Ronsard; Secret Poems by Guillaume Apollinaire – 1967; Poems by Mao Tse Tung; The Venus in Fur by Sacher Masoch; and Faust of Goethe.
Dali’s delirious vision led to a long and fruitful collaboration between artist and publisher resulting in almost 200 etchings. A few of these include:
- la Mythologie (16 planches), le Christ, Sainte-Anne, l’Incantation
- Dali reworked 7 pieces of the Bullfight set by Picasso, reinterpreting the works of his fellow Catalonian by giving them the Dali touch – macabre, yet humorous, overlays (1966)
- Using rubies and diamonds as engraving tools, Dali illustrated La Nuit de Walpurgis of Faust (21 pieces, 1968) resulting in an incomparable delicacy to the design
- Poemes of Ronsard (18 pieces, 1968)
- Apollinaire (18 pieces, 1968)
- Venus a la fourrure after Sacher Masoch (20 pieces, 1969)
- Suites of Don Juan (3 pieces, 1970-71)
- Hippies (11 pieces, 1970-71)
In 1974, artist and publisher parted ways because Pierre Argillet would only accept etchings done in the traditional way, on copper, and refused to go along with Dali’s desire to make photo-based lithographs. Using this process, Dali went on to produce a large number of works that appealed to a more widespread audience than ever before, but they were also subject to more criticism.
The Pierre Argillet Collection demonstrates high standards of quality, and the impassioned collaboration between the artist and his publisher. This ensemble of works has appeared in the best-known museums in the world: Musée Boymans, Rotterdam 1971; Musée Pushkin, Moscou, 1988; Reynolds-Morse Foundation, St Petersburg, Florida; Kunsthaus, Zürich and Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart 1989; Isetan Museum of Art in Tokyo, Daimaru Art Museum, Osaka and the Hiroshima Prefectural Museum of Art, Japan, 1990.
This collection’s permanent home is at the Museum of Surealism in Melun, France and the Dali Museum in Figueras, Spain.
Madame Christine Argillet
Christine Argillet is the daughter of Pierre Argillet and has fond recollections of the 30-year collaboration and 50-year relationship her father had with his close friend, Salvador Dali. The young Argillet recounts an early visit to Dali’s home. Her parents tell her to sit quietly, but Dali sends her on a scavenger hunt around his labyrinthine home to find candies inside his crystal jars. She discovered huge candies, the size of eggs, wrapped in shiny papers. Obediently, she brought them down to the beach, as Dali instructed, lined them up and suddenly, they went off, boom, boom, boom – infuriating the fishermen. They weren’t candies at all, but cherry bombs. Mme Argillet chuckles as she recounts the experiences with the prankster Dali, an affable, if temperamental, ‘mischievous uncle.’
Argillet pays homage to her father’s wish of showing the Dali Argillet Collection “in places where they are unexpected.”