Salvador Dalí. Retrospective Bust of a Woman. 1933 (some elements reconstructed 1970)
Salvador Dalí

Retrospective Bust of a Woman

1933 (some elements reconstructed 1970)
On view
Medium
Painted porcelain, bread, corn, feathers, paint on paper, beads, ink stand, sand, and two pens
Dimensions
29 x 27 1/4 x 12 5/8" (73.9 x 69.2 x 32 cm)
Credit
Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest and gift of Philip Johnson (both by exchange)
Object number
301.1992
Copyright
© 2015 Salvador Dalí, Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Department
Painting and Sculpture

Like other Surrealists, Dalí constructed sculpture from disparate found objects. The genesis of this work was his discovery of an inkwell featuring the figures from Jean-Francois Millet's painting The Angelus (1857–59). He embedded the inkwell in a loaf of bread and placed them both on an accessorized bust. The necklace is a strip of repeating images from a zoetrope, a precinematic toy that provides the illusion of movement as it rotates.

Gallery label from Dalí: Painting and Film, June 29–September 15, 2008

Additional text

In 1931 Dalí described Surrealist sculpture as "absolutely useless and created wholly for the purpose of materializing in a fetishistic way, with maximum tangible reality, ideas and fantasies of a delirious character." Made just a few years after this provocative statement, Retrospective Bust of a Woman not only presents a woman as an object, but explicitly as one to be consumed. A long phallic baguette crowns her head, cobs of corns dangle around her neck, and ants swarm along her forehead as if gathering crumbs. When this work was exhibited in 1933, Pablo Picasso's dog is reputed to have eaten the original loaf of bread.

Gallery label from The Erotic Object: Surrealist Sculpture from the Collection, June 24, 2009–January 4, 2010

In 1931 Dalí described Surrealist sculpture as "absolutely useless and created wholly for the purpose of materializing in a fetishistic way, with

maximum tangible reality, ideas and fantasies of a delirious character." Made just a few years after this provocative statement, Retrospective Bust of a Woman not only presents a woman as an object, but explicitly as one to be consumed. A long phallic baguette crowns her head, cobs of corns dangle around her neck, and ants swarm along her forehead as if gathering crumbs. When this work was exhibited in 1933, Pablo Picasso's dog is reputed to have eaten the originalloaf of bread.

Gallery label from 2015

Provenance Research Project
This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.
Galerie Pierre Colle, Paris. 1933
Gustave J. Nellens, Knokke-le-Zoute, Belgium. Purchased in 1967 – [1982]
Jacques J. Nellens, Knokke-le-Zoute, Belgium. [From about 1983] – [1992]
Galerie Beyeler, Basel (agent for private collector). 1992
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired through Ernst Beyeler, 1992

If you have any questions or information to provide about the listed works, please e-mail provenance@moma.org or write to:

Provenance Research Project
The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019

Pictured above: Vasily Kandinsky. Panel for Edwin R. Campbell No. 2 (detail). 1914. Oil on canvas, 64 1/8 x 48 3/8" (162.6 x 122.7 cm). Nelson A. Rockefeller Fund (by exchange). © 2009 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

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Image permissions

In order to effectively service requests for images, The Museum of Modern Art entrusts the licensing of images of works of art in its collections to the agencies Scala Archives and Art Resource. As MoMA’s representatives, these agencies supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum's imaging studios.

All requests to reproduce works of art from MoMA's collection within North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico) should be addressed directly to Art Resource at 536 Broadway, New York, New York 10012. Telephone (212) 505-8700; fax (212) 505-2053; requests@artres.com; artres.com. Requests from all other geographical locations should be addressed directly to Scala Group S.p.A., 62, via Chiantigiana, 50012 Bagno a Ripoli/Firenze, Italy. Telephone 39 055 6233 200; fax 39 055 641124; firenze@scalarchives.com; scalarchives.com.

Requests for permission to reprint text from MoMA publications should be addressed to text_permissions@moma.org.

Related links:
Outside North America: Scala Archives
North America: Art Resource