Theresa Engelbrecht, Registrar & Exhibition Manager at the Samek Art Museum, had the opportunity to look at the Catalogues Raisonnés for Dali’s graphic works, and compare the information to the Samek’s holdings. In doing so, she confirmed suspicions that our Dali lithographs are not by his hand, but rather done “after” his style.
Here is the evidence:
- Dali remarked in a 1985 statement that, in the year 1980 onward, he signed his name very few times due to the palsy in his hands. Thus, any “hand-signed” works after 1980 are very rare, and nearly all of said works are inauthentic
- He later clarified this statement to say that he “signed no complete or whole editions of graphic works that year .”
- In the same year, Arjomari papers (makers of BFK Rives and Arches) added an infinity symbol to their watermarks to advertise the paper’s longevity. Thus, any Dali works that bear his signature and the infinity symbol in the watermark can be presumed inauthentic.
- The Samek’s suite of lithographs (1985.13.1-10) all bear the infinity symbol in the watermark, thus proving the works are made after 1980. The fact that they are “hand-signed” and part of a limited edition further prove that they are not by Dali’s hand and were never approved by him.
- Further, Dali was known to dislike the medium of lithography.
- In the Albert Field catalog, I found reference to several of the lithographs in the Samek’s collection (Leda Atomica, Le Spectre du Sex Appeal, Quatrieme Dimension, La Toison d’Or.) It lists the above lithographs as being produced by Gilbert Hamon between 1979 and 1981 (depending on the image.) He was authorized to print works “After” Dali but was not authorized to sell them as authentic, nor use his signature – which Hamon later admitted to doing.
- Several other of the Samek lithographs appear in the Field catalog as being printed by Leon Amiel (Cheval Allegre, The Great Masturbator.)
Using the Field catalog, she also discovered that our Pegasus (1978.5.1) and Da Vinci (1978.5.2) by Dali are both 1968 re-strikes initiated by Jean Schneider from Dali’s Album of 15 Gravures. The re-strike edition was unlimited and unnumbered, and the plates were likely re-engraved as the matrix began to show wear. As the plates wore, color was also added (our Pegasus shows such color), but there is no evidence Dali supported the use of color.
In good news, our three drypoint etchings (Le Grand Inquisiteur chasse le serviteur, Freud a tete d’escargot, Les lauriers du bonheur) are all authentic limited edition prints seen and approved by Dali.
According to Theresa, this further solidified the importance of well-compiled Catalogues Raisonnés!