Following 17 years of extensive research and analysis, the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation has finally completed the digital Salvador Dalí Catalogue Raisonné that includes his entire painterly oeuvre.
First launched in 2004 on the occasion of the centenary of the artist’s birth and carried out by the Centre for Dalinian Studies, the aim of the project was to gather and share the most accurate information about the works that comprise all his artworks in the form of an online publication.
The Catalogue now includes a total of one thousand of Dalí’s pictorial works spanning over 70 years, excluding watercolors and drawings, 320 of which are in the hands of the institution. It also documents 36 missing pieces, as well as 9 that were destroyed.
The Catalogue is freely available on the English, Spanish, Catalan and French versions of the foundation’s websites.
Always waging for research and innovation, The Fundació Dalí has dedicated a part of its potential to research and spread the knowledge of the famous Spanish Surrealist.
Regarded as one of the most valuable contributions to the academic field, the project is open to everyone, free of charge.
A pioneering initiative by The Dalí Foundation and the Centre for Dalinian Studies, the research project Catalogue Raisonné of Salvador Dalí Paintings was conceived with the idea to gather as much meticulous information as possible on Dali’s pictorial production between the years 1910 and 1983 and share them online, therefore creating a unique posthumous insight into the artist’s career.
The research itself was modeled on the non-digital Catalogue Raisonnés of Joan Miró and another one produced by London’s Tate Gallery on William Turner. Conceived as a work in progress, the Catalogue was constantly updated and modified with new data over the years.
Through exhaustive research, the team was supposed to determine which pieces belong to Dalí’s artistic output, making this a task of attribution without extending to an aesthetic appraisal of the works.
Using extensive documentary archive of the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, and collaborating with the archive of The Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam, and the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Barcelona, the team examined each work that was attributed to Dalí in order to determine its authenticity.
In this process, they would compare the visual examination with photographic documentation and audio-visual material, often cross-checking the information against other sources and archives.
The first results were presented in May 2004, covering the years 1910 to 1930 and including 258 works.
It was followed with the second section in January 2007, covering the years 1931 to 1939 and including 211 paintings, and the third one in May 201, spanning the years 1940 to 1951 and including 136 works.
The fourth stage of the catalogue, spanning the years 1952 to 1964, was published on May 2017 on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the inauguration of the Dalí Theatre-Museum.
The fifth and last stage was finally presented on December 4th, containing 233 works spanning years 1965 to 1983. The Catalogue traces the evolution of the artist's work and the development of his signature surrealist style.
Also, for the first time, the public has an opportunity to overview the vast production of the last years of his life.
The visitors could either use the search engine to find a particular work or browse a relevant chronological section. They can also access the Index of collections, containing information on private and public institutions holding artworks by Dalí.
Highlighting the importance of the initiative, the director of the Dalí Museums, Montse Aguer explained she doubts there are more works by the artist that are not in the database.
Yet, she admitted that “with Dalí it is very difficult to make categorical claims.” The team is now working on creating a directory of Dalí’s graphic and sculptural work. The first section of this catalogue will be presented in 2018.
As the Foundation states, the Catalogue is an important contribution to a better knowledge of Dalí’s pictorial oeuvre, as well as the essential tool for the study of the 20th-century history of art.
Besides being a valuable source of information for other museums around the world, it is also a guarantee of authenticity for owners of paintings and for the general art market.
Featured images: Salvador Dali working, via juliaworld.net; Dali Atomicus, 1948. Photo by Philippe Halsman. All images used for illustrative purposes only.