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

Salvador Dalí

Retrospective Bust of a Woman

1933 (some elements reconstructed 1970)

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
© 2017 Salvador Dalí, Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Department
Painting and Sculpture
This work is not on view.
Salvador Dalí has 42 works online.
There are 1,543 sculptures online.

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

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

This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.
[1933, Galerie Pierre Colle, Paris]

? - 1966, Georges Hugnet (1906-1974), Paris, possibly acquired from the artist.

1966 - 1971, Gustave J. Nellens (1907-1971), Knokke-le-Zoute, Belgium, purchased from Georges Hugnet.

1971 - [1992], Jacques J. Nellens, Knokke-le-Zoute, Belgium, probably inherited from his father Gustave J. Nellens.

1992, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, acquired by exchange through Galerie Beyeler, Basel.

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

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

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA's collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

If you would like to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA, please contact Scala Archives (all geographic locations) at firenze@scalarchives.com.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA's archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.