“Andy Warhol was like parsley. In all places you went, he was there,” Diane von Furstenberg as soon as stated of the bewigged artist. Flip again the clock 20 years or so extra and far the identical may have been stated of Salvador Dalí, the mustachioed Surrealist and social butterfly who was not one to look down his nostril at style. Quite the opposite, he embraced it, and it’s not troublesome to see why. It has in widespread along with his personal artwork a preoccupation with time (ephemerality), fantasy, and transformation.
The artist’s best-known engagement with la mode is his work for Elsa Schiaparelli. For the art-mad Italian designer he dreamed up a hat within the form of a shoe and bureau-drawer-shaped pockets, and he additionally painted a pink lobster on a white costume that scandalized the haute monde when the Duchess of Windsor wore it in 1937. Dalí, as Vogue famous in 1949, was somebody “who sparkes concepts in lots of instructions.” He labored with Les Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo; he tried his hand, somewhat efficiently we would add, at jewellery design; and he contributed three covers—and plenty of editorial spreads—to this journal circa 1939 to 1944.
Surfacing at Christies’s Impressionist and Fashionable Artwork Works on Paper sale tomorrow is among the Surrealist’s most enchanting items, a 1953 watercolor titled Femmes aux Papillons. (Dior had laid declare to Femmes Fleurs in 1947.) This fashionable work has a really trendy provenance: It comes from the property of Eleanor Lambert, who was often called “The Empress of Seventh Avenue” and represented Dalí for a time, amongst her many different commitments to the likes of the Council of Trend Designers of America, the Costume Institute, and the Finest Dressed Listing. Lambert accepted this piece in lieu of a money cost from Dalí. It was probably created, says Allegra Bettini, an knowledgeable dealing with the sale, for the Worldwide Silk Convention, with which the artist was engaged on business initiatives on the time.
Surrealist artwork—and Dalí’s specifically—is deeply symbolic. The butterfly, like style, is related to fleeting, fragile magnificence. However, as Bettini notes, with Dalí nothing is actually what it appears. A fast Google picture search means that the foremost of the collage’s figures won’t be a butterfly in any respect, however an enormous silkworm moth—a sly nod to his shopper on the time. If the radiating perspective traces appear to look again to Dalí’s 1944 Vogue cowl (beneath), the fashions eerily mirror the 18th-century-style thrives not too long ago seen within the Spring 2020 collections of Rick Owens, Thom Browne, and others. As ever, Dalí is correct on time.