A winged angel rides into Bonhams
atop an elephant, heralding success on a golden trumpet.
Elephant de Triomphe is a fantastic Salvador Dalí sculpture valued at £250,000£350,000. It will be offered for sale as part of the Impressionist and Modern Art sale at Bonhams, New Bond Street on 4th February, 2014.
The sculpture is one of a series of eight cast and carries an inscription 4/8 (four artist studies and two artist proofs also exist). The work was conceived by Dali in 1975 and the first sculpture was cast in 1984.
The towering, cast bronze elephant sculpture has an emerald-green patina body and surreal, elongated, giraffe-like legs. It stands almost 3 metres in height, open mouthed and trunk raised as if in echoing trumpet. A golden angel with trumpet lands on the animals jewelled saddle heralding great news.
Elephants were used by Dalí as a symbol of the future and were one of his favourite images, recurring atop mosquito-like legs in many of his paintings.
The angel fanfare on the elephants back announces the dawn of an exciting new era. The rich gold of the shining angel and the jewelled saddle on which it kneels could be said to signify wealth and prosperity. The fragility of the spindly limbs carrying the gigantic weight of the elephant perhaps symbolises the fragility between past and future.
The 1970s saw Dalí growing increasingly interested in science and religion and becoming ever more devoutly Catholic. Christian iconography as well as scientific and futuristic symbols began to seep into his work.
Elephant de Triomphe, elevated physically and spiritually above the earth on stilt-like legs and watched over by its guardian angel, is a product of these fascinations announcing the beginning of a prosperous new age.