On December 17, 2009 the Real Círculo Artístico of Barcelona (Royal Artistic Circle of Barcelona RCAB), Spain, issued a proclamation awarding French photographer Robert Descharnes, long term friend and associate of Salvador Dalí and expert in his work, its coveted Gold Medal For the merit which he displays, the greatest authority in the world in the knowledge and defense of the work of the artist Salvador Dalí i Domench. The award was accepted on Robert Descharnes behalf by his son Nicolas at the RCABs headquarters in Barcelona on December 27th 2009 and acknowledged in a video addressed to the RCAB by Robert Descharnes who was unable to attend the presentation in person.
Founded in 1881 and accorded Royal status by His Majesty King Alfonso XIII in 1917, the Real Círculo Artístico of Barcelona is a non-profit organization whose aims have always been to promote and support the arts in all their forms. The RCABs current Honorary President is H.M. King Juan Carlos I of Spain. In the past the Gold Medal has been awarded mainly to Spaniards so it is an unusual honor for this one to go to a Frenchman, especially as it concerns one of Spains most acclaimed painters. In awarding Robert Descharnes this medal they recognized him as the Number One International Expert on Salvador Dalí, a title which leading auction houses Sothebys and Christies acknowledge by their actions, since they rely solely on Robert Descharnes and his son Nicolas for the authentication of Salvador Dalí artwork before it is offered at auction.
The RCABs President, Mr. Josep Felix Bentz, and Curator, Mr. Juan Javier Bofill presented the Gold Medal at a special ceremony at the RCAB. In accepting the medal on his fathers behalf, Nicolas Descharnes detailed the long list of achievements by Robert Descharnes in the documentation and defense of Salvador Dalís work, including an extensive list of books compiled and published and films produced to make Dalí and his work known and the vast amount of work done by Robert with help from Nicolas in pursuing the crusade given to him by Dalí and Gala in the 1980s to stop the rampant forgery of Dalís work and signature. Nicolas pointed out that today, with a new wave of Dalí forgeries hitting the market, they have again rallied to the cause along with Frank Hunter, New York based Dalí graphics expert.
In his videoed acknowledgment of the Gold Medal, Robert mentioned his meetings with Dalí and the King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, current Honorary President of the RCAB, who personally asked him to take care of Dalí. He relates many stories about his collaboration with Dalí as his photographer and in assisting him with his paintings, showing the closeness and depth of his long-term relationship with the Spanish Master whom he admired and respected profoundly. During his collaboration with Dalí Robert took over 60,000 photos of the painter and he says this was not enough. He is delighted with his good fortune of being able to spend 40 years with the artist, involved in so many different activities with a genius of Dalís caliber. In thanking the Real Círculo Artístico, Robert sent them a copy of one of his well-known famous photos of Dalí.
Also, shown for the first time at the award ceremony, a new documentary entitled The Cinema According to Dalí by Christopher Jones and Marie-Dominique Montel was screened for those attending, and both directors were present to answer questions from the public.
True to his lifes work and loyal to Salvador Dalí long after the painters death, Robert Descharnes continues to work with his son Nicolas, with Frank Hunter, with law enforcement and with Fine Art Registry® to help eradicate the latest wave of Salvador Dalí fakes and forgery. The Gold Medal from the Real Círculo Artístico of Barcelona is a fitting recognition of his devotion and achievements.
Robert and Nicolas Descharnes can be reached through their website, www.daliphoto.com