Friday, February 11, 2011

Dali: a study of his life and work (1958)

Dali: a study of his life and work
New York Graphic Society, 1958.

This book can easily be one of the tallest and widest in your collection (it's 13.75" x 14.5" ).  The title is a bit ambitious, especially considering that at the time this book was printed, Dali still had more than 20 years left to his career.

In its time, this book likely served as an excellent introduction to Dali's early career and rise to international fame.  Though that story has been told in many other places since then, this book still holds some historical value.

The main text, written by A. Reynolds Morse, follows Dali's career through the exhibitions of his work.  In this organizing element, Morse records dates, places, galleries, and the main works on display. 

This information allows one to follow the public career of Dali through the workflow he produced and revealed to the world in stages.  Certainly, this chronology is valuable to any scholars seeking to trace the steps of the great master painter Dali.

A unique element of this book are the 17 tipped-in color plates, which are the exception rather than the rule, in Dali art books (a list of the plates is provided here).  The descriptive captions for the color plates were written by Dali.

Other than the color plates, this book is heavily illustrated with b&w reproductions, comprised mostly of paintings, with a short section of drawings and watercolors at the end of the book.

The book originally had a clear dust jacket with the title printed in red.  It is frequently missing from the book, so look for it if you are buying a copy. 

This book is relatively rare, but not necessarily in demand.  Average prices tend to be a little high for a book of this nature, around $35-$45, but at this price, nobody's buying. 

Personally, I don't think you should pay more than $25 with the dust jacket, but you may not find such a bargain.  Happy hunting!

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