An encounter Between two Artists: William Shakespeare and Salvador Dalì

Elisabetta Marabotto of Saffronart explores Dalì’s series of prints inspired by the works of Shakespeare

Salvador Dali' and Gala Eluard.

Salvador Dali’ and Gala Eluard.
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London: Two Dali prints soon to be available on The Story by Saffronart are a great example of one artist’s response to the work of another. Here, William Shakespeare, centuries after his death, manages to inspire the imagination and creativity of the great surrealist artist Salvador Dali with his words and poetry.

Dalì, mostly known for his surrealist works which he created using several different media, from painting to sculpture and film, also demonstrated great skill with more ‘traditional’ forms of art like the present prints. He joined the surrealist group in 1929 of which he was one of the most outstanding and controversial members. There he met his future wife and muse Gala. In 1939 he left the Surrealist group and fled to America with Gala where he adopted a different approach to art, rejecting modernism and experimenting different art traditions.

The artist said: “A true painter is one who can paint extraordinary scenes in the middle of an empty desert. A true painter is one who can patiently paint a pear in the midst of the tumults of history.”

Given the link of Surrealism with literature, Dalì’s interest in Shakespeare’s oeuvre is not surprising. In fact, the artist also illustrated other literary masterpieces such as “The Divine Comedy” by Dante and Cervantes’ “Don Quixote”.

Salvador Dali, The Tempest (From Shakespeare I)
The Story by Saffronart

One of the prints on offer is an illustration of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” written around 1610-1611. In this print, Dali represents the main scene of the play, where Prospero conjures up the tempest. He is depicted on the right hand side of the print, while in the background, a boat struggles against the blowing winds and stormy sea.

Salvador Dali, Henry IV from Much Ado about Shakespeare (Shakespeare II)
The Story by Saffronart

The second print is an illustration of the play “Henry IV” which belongs to a series of four historical dramas. Written between 1596 and1599, this play tackles mirrors the political situation of the time and the problems around the succession after Queen Elizabeth I.

Shakespeare, Salvador Dali.

Shakespeare, Salvador Dali.
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William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is considered the greatest playwright in the history of English literature, and in the 19th century his work became the canon for western literature.

An exhibition on Shakespeare prints by Salvador Dalì titled “Much Ado About Shakespeare” will be held at the Dalì Museum, Florida, in January 2013.

So why not enjoy one of the Shakespeare inspired prints from your own collection? It is an occasion to not be missed!

Autobiografia: Recluse of History

Ipshita Sen of Saffronart previews an exhibition at Gallery Art & Soul in Mumbai

New York: The exhibition, Autobiografia: Recluse of History, is an intriguing group show of artists from different eras. Simplistic and powerful, it stimulates one’s historical chord through classic drawings of soldiers during World War I, with titles such as ‘le commencement de la peur’ / ‘the beginning of fear’ made by artist Jean Louis-Forainto, striking drawings of the town of Lodz by the cubist artist Felicia Pacanowska, a survivor of World War II and the holocaust.

Additionally, the exhibition features works by artists such as Prabhakar Pachpute, depicting open cast mines in India and photographs and scriptures of a theater founded by artist Amol Patil’s father for the Bombay mill workers.

The exhibition is a sneak peek into history, portraying several autobiographies which span an ambitious timeline of significant historical events and offer varied nuances of their respective periods of time. The visitor is thus exposed to several time capsules simultaneously.

A self portrait by Felicia Pacanowska

A self portrait by Felicia Pacanowska

Artist Felicia Pacanowska was a Cubist artist born and raised in the industrial town of Lodz. Her parents were artists too, and part of the large Jewish population in Lodz. The city became an important hub for the Nazi’s occupation owing to its industrial attributes. The Lodz ghetto, the second largest after the Warsaw ghetto, was built for Jews and Romans in German ruled Poland. The ghetto served as an industrial center for the Jews, a gathering point and also as a manufacturing center for German army supplies. Very few Jews survived the dreadful holocaust. Felicia Pacanowska lost her family in the holocaust leaving her depressed. Until the end of the war, she lived in fear and in brutal conditions. Most of her works of art and tools were lost. She, however, continued her diligent work, which eventually staved off her depression. Pacanowska’s significant body of works displayed at the exhibition mainly comprises portraits in studied, clean, scalpel-succinct pencil strokes.

Shernavaz Colah, another artist showcased in this exhibit, has an intriguing series of drawings titled “it-so-ur-sco-pop-hob-ia”, an anxiety instigated whilst being stared at by other people. The exhibition also includes reproductions of works of art by reclusive Sri Lankan artist Justin Daraniyagala, who Shernavaz Colah had been researching.

Justin Daraniyagala, a cubist artist, part of the Sri Lankan avant-garde 43 Group, preceded several of his contemporaries in India in interpreting cubism through his own aesthetic eye. John Berger, a distinguished British writer and art critic, reviewed Justin Daraniyagala and his group and spoke of their outstanding practices. He noted: “…the story of the [‘43] Group’s attempt to achieve a synthesis between the work done in Paris by Picasso and Matisse and the ancient tradition of Sigiriya (frescoes)  which yet took into account the emerging power and equality of Asia in the contemporary work could be discovered through a careful, chronological study of their work.”

The exhibition also includes the works of Zarina Hashmi, Yogesh Barve, Poonam Jain, Akbar Padamsee, Salvador Dali, Prabhakar Barwe, F.N. Souza, Nikhil Raunak, George Braque, A.A. Raiba, Sachin Bonde, Francisco Goya, Mangesh Kapse and Carla Montenegro, with reproductions by M.F. Husain, Pablo Picasso and Fernando Botero.

The exhibition is currently on view at Gallery Art & Soul in Mumbai, India.

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