Antoni Pitxot, director of the Dalí Theatre and Museum
in Figueres, and Montse Aguer, director of the Centre for Dalinian Studies, have presented today the latest acquisition made by the Dalí Foundation: an oil titled Gala. This painting could be the first portrait of his wife and it may be viewed starting today in a montage designed specially for this exhibition by Pep Canaleta.
When, in 1929, Dalí met Gala Éluard, a strong impression was provoked, so intense that from this point on he will never be separated from her, until the death of Gala in June of 1982. Wife and muse to Salvador Dalí, her real name was Elena Ivanovna Diakonova. She was a mysterious woman, transgressive, with great intuition, who recognized artistic and creative genius wherever she saw it and throughout her life, even before meeting Salvador Dalí, she was related to numerous intellectuals and artists.
In April of 1929, Salvador Dalí travelled to Paris to present the movie he made with Luis Buñuel, Un chien andalou, and there, Camille Goemans, poet and Belgian, presents him with Paul Éluard. Dalí invites them to go for the summer to Cadaqués. Goemans and his companion, René Magritte and his wife, Luis Buñuel, Paul Éluard and Gala, with their daughter, Cécile, accept the invitation.
When the painter met Gala he fell in love. He wrote in The Secret Life: She was destined to become my Gradiva (this name comes from the title of a novel by W. Jensen, whose main character is Sigmund Freud; Gradiva is the heroine and takes psychological care of the protagonist), the one ahead, my victory, my wife.
The painter made, starting from a photographic portrait of Gala, a detailed portrait, with collage, full of details, starting from the smoke from a cigarette, where he integrates the iconography of this moment, which is repeated often, mostly in the paintings made between 1929 and 1931: the lobster, the bird, the figure of the great masturbator, the shells, the squirrel, the ants
all accompany Gala, with long hair; Gala, the ideal woman. A Gala that stares at us, with clear sight. A delicately executed portrait and due to its small size, a small jewel.
One can read, in the lower central part, pour loliveta Salvador Dali 1931. Oliveta, one of the names with which Dalí called his muse: I call my wife: Gala, Galuchka, Gradiva (because she has been my Gradiva); Oliva (because of the oval of her face and the color of her skin; Oliveta, diminutive of oliva (olive); and its delirious derivatives: Oliueta, Oriueta, Buribeta, Buriueteta, Suliueta, Solibubuleta, Oliburibuleta, Ciueta, Liueta. I also call her Lionette, because she roars, when she gets mad, like the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lion.