Fine Art/Dali


Hello, I have what I believe to be a Dali signed lithograph with original water color, gold leaf, and pencil. I acquired it through a family friend who bought it at auction but certificate of authenticity has been lost. How do I identify it as authentic?

Dear Bruce,

Thank you for your e-mail.  It's great to get a question about Dali: I get a lot of questions about subjects that are outside my expertise, so it's really nice to get something in my area!

You basically have two issues with your piece: the question of whether the lithograph is authentic, and whether the original watercolor/gold leaf/pencil work is authentic.  As for the lithograph, you can do a preliminary investigation by consulting books such as Albert Field's Complete Catalogue of Dali's Graphic Works, which includes details about all Dali's lithographs including size, whether or not he signed the images, etc.  If your work matches all the criteria, it doesn't guarantee that it is indeed authentic (as you probably know, there are a lot of Dali forgeries on the market), but it gives you a starting point.  If you would like to send me an image or any other information you have about your work, I can look that up for you in my copy of the book.

For a real expert testimonial and certificate of authenticity, you should contact one of the appraisers/authenticators who specialise in Dali's work, which might anyway be a good idea because they will help you to determine whether the original drawing is also authentic.  Let me be clear that I am not endorsing the following authenticators, but the following is a good list of people to consider after further research:

Robert and Nicolas Descharnes are recognized as two of the top experts in Dali originals, though they examine drawings and paintings rather than lithographs.  Still, they may be useful if you believe your lithograph has an original watercolor on it.

Bernard Ewell is an appraiser in Santa Fe who specialises in Dali graphics.

Frank Hunter is an expert in Dali graphics in New York.  His business, The Dali Archives, used to be run by Albert Field, who passed away a few years ago.

I would personally begin with that list, though there are also art dealers who would be able to counsel you, especially if you are considering selling.  Joe Nuzzolo of the Dali Society does a lot of work in this area (  You may also consider contacting the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, FL to see whom they would recommend in terms of dealers, or even appraisers.

Again, if you'd like to send me an image, I will look up the work for you and give you any further information I can, though unfortunately I cannot myself ascertain whether the piece is authentic (I am not an appraiser, and most any appraiser will need to examine the work in-person).  The information I've provided, however, should give you some good resources.

Good luck, and thanks for writing.

All best wishes,

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Elliott H. King


As a professional art historian, I can answer questions related to the art and life of Salvador Dalí. I am neither an art broker nor an appraiser, so I cannot answer questions regarding a work's value or authenticity; however, I can refer you to individuals who work in the Dali market.


I am an art historian specializing in Salvador Dalí. For over ten years, I have been a pioneer in the critical study of ‘Late Dalí’ (i.e., the artist's work after 1940). I have presented extensively on aspects of Dalí’s production at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Tate Modern, L’Université de Lausanne, Cerisy la Salle, the University of London, and Harvard University, and I have been a guest lecturer at Cambridge University and the University of Chicago. I have published several essays about Dalí in addition to my book, 'Dalí, Surrealism, and Cinema' (Kamera Books, 2007). I have also contributed to major international exhibitions of Dalí's work, including the Dalí Centenary Exhibition (2004-05) and 'Dalí & Film' (2007-08).

BOOKS "Dalí: The Late Work", High Museum of Art, Atlanta in association with Yale UP, 2010. "Dalí, Surrealism and Cinema", Kamera Books, Herts (UK), 2007. ESSAYS, ARTICLES AND CHAPTERS • “Little Black Dress, Little Red Book: Dalí, Mao, and Monarchy (with Special Attention to Trajan’s Glorious Testicles)”, in Michael R. Taylor (ed.), The Dalí Renaissance: New Perspectives on His Life and Art after 1940, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, 2008, pp. 90111. • “The Prodigious Story of the Lacemaker and the Rhinoceros”, in ibid, pp. 190204. • “Crazy Movies That Disappear”, in Matthew Gale (ed.), Dalí and Film, Tate Publishing, London / Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2007, pp. 214229. Published also in Spanish as "Dalí y el cine", Electa, Madrid, 2008. • “Le temps dalínien fait mouche: Réflexions sur les « montres molles »”, in Astrid Ruffa, Philippe Kaenel, Danielle Chaperon (eds.), "Salvador Dalí à la croisée des savoirs", Éditions Desjonquères, Paris, 2007, pp. 3752. • “Winged Fantasy with Lead Feet: The Influence of Llullism and Hiparxiologi on Dalí’s Mysticism”, in Hank Hine, William Jeffett and Kelly Reynolds (eds.), "Persistence & Memory: New Critical Perspectives on Dalí at the Centennial", Bompiani Arte, Milan, 2004, pp. 189193. EXHIBITION CATALOGUES: ENTRIES • Dawn Ades and Michael R. Taylor (eds.), "Dalí", Bompiani Arte, Milan, 2004. EXHIBITION CATALOGUES: BIBLIOGRAPHIES, FILMOGRAPHIES AND CHRONOLOGIES • “Dalí Filmography”, published in Matthew Gale (ed.), "Dalí and Film", op.cit., pp. 230231. • “A Cinematic Chronology of Dalí, 19411989”, in ibid, pp. 160163. • Compiled the most complete bibliography of Dalí resources todate, published in Dawn Ades and Michael R. Taylor (eds.), "Dalí", op.cit., pp. 568598.

Ph.D, Art History and Theory (2010) University of Essex, Colchester, England M.A. with Distinction in Dissertation, History of Art (2001) Courtauld Institute of Art, London, England B.A. summa cum laude, Art History (hons., Phi Beta Kappa) University of Denver, Denver, Colorado

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