Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dali and His Books (Eduard Fornes, English edition: 1987).

Dali and His Books
Catalogue by Eduard Fornes, English edition: 1987

This book is like a checklist, albeit incomplete, for the collector of Dali's writings and book illustrations.  In spite of what's missing, it's a good starting point for any Dali collector.  The book is 80 pages and is replete with color illustrations and tons of information.

The book begins with Dali, the writer which presents Dali's written works in chronological order.  I find it odd that Les Diners de Gala is included in this section since there is not a single bit of text in this book authored by Dali.  I would consider Les Diners a book illustrated by (not written by) Dali, so it belongs in the next section.

The next section, Dali, the illustrator presents books and magazines illustrated by Dali in chronological order.  One thing that bothers me about this section is the inclusion of "books" which take the form of limited edition suites.  In reality, the average person can't go out and buy any of these "books" on the secondary market.  I guess the author would have been short on content if these works were not included.

Nevertheless, this section is fairly comprehensive, though it could have included Speak of the Devil (1945) for the incredible dust jacket Dali designed for it.  Also, where is Dali by Dali (1970)???  It is bizarre that at least the latter book was not included in this catalogue.

One last critique: this section of the catalogue would have been enhanced by including complete information on all books cited.  For instance, it would be nice to know exactly how many illustrations there are in a particular book illustrated by Dali.  This information is occasionally provided, but not consistently. 

Weaknesses aside, this book is a fun read, especially for the avid collector of many of these works.  The books section is illustrated with covers of many of the books and some of the illustrations contained therein.  Occasionally, you get a foreign language cover which differs from the English edition.

I only recently became aware of this book, even after years of collecting Dali books.  It seems to be a relatively rare publication.  A copy will likely cost you about $40 and up.

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