Portrait of Paul Eluard (1929) by Salvador Dali

Portrait of Paul Eluard - Salvador Dali - 1929

Artwork Information

TitlePortrait of Paul Eluard
ArtistSalvador Dali
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions33 x 25 cm
Art MovementSurrealism
Current LocationDalí Theatre and Museum, Figueres, Spain
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About Portrait of Paul Eluard

Salvador Dali’s portrait of Paul Éluard is widely recognized as a masterpiece of Surrealism and one of the finest Surrealist portraits ever produced. Painted in 1929, the portrait represents an essential body of work that displayed many important elements of Dali’s visual vocabulary and deeply explores the psychology of portraiture. It depicts Éluard, a French poet and founding member of the Surrealist movement, seated on a plain wooden bench with his hands clasped tightly in his lap.

The painting was created around the time when Dali was staying in Paris and working with filmmaker Luis Buñuel. He met Éluard during this time, who was married to Dali’s future wife Gala for 12 years before their relationship began. The painting is said to reflect Dali’s anxiety over this situation and concern over what the future would hold for him personally.

Today, the painting is exhibited at the Dalí Theatre and Museum in Figueres, Spain, but it has previously been auctioned at Christie’s in 1989. Understanding its placement within both Dali’s career as well as within Surrealism offers insight into how artists use portraiture as a means for artistic expression beyond merely capturing a likeness.

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