Fine Art/2 Dali's


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I just received 2 Dali's. The first I have been told is a woodcut and is pencil signed. The second is a color lithograph and is also pencil signed. I have certificates of appraisals but I know they are wrong because they have the wrong title on them Can you give me any information?

Dear Jacqueline,

Thank you for your question.  The image you sent me is a woodblock print from Dali's Divine Comedy suite.  It is usually known as Purgatory 5; I say 'usually' because a German scholar, Wolfgang Everling, has argued that the order of the prints was compromised and that the numbering one generally uses is not accurate.  Everling identifies it as Purgatory 6, with the title 'Vergil embracing Sordello'.

Dali was commissioned to design these watercolors (later made into woodblock prints) by the Italian government to celebrate the 700th anniversary of Dante's birth.  Dali created 101 Divine Comedy watercolors between 1951 and 1960, then the finished suite was published in Paris by Joseph Foret in a special edition.  A larger edition was then published by Jean Estrade at Les Heures Claires.

If you were buying, I would strongly advise asking that the works be authenticated; as you are already the owner, that step is up to you.  I say this because there is a tremendous proliferation of fake Dali graphics on the market.  The Divine Comedy prints are especially sticky because about 8534 editions were published between French, German, and Italian editions, and most have been taken apart so the images can be sold separately.  Very few have signatures, so the fact that yours has a signature suggests that it is quite rare or the signature may be forged.  There is some information published online here:

I recommend contacting the Salvador Dali Archives in New York for more information about the authenticity of your prints.  The Archives are run by Frank Hunter, who used to work with graphics expert Albert Field.  
Another great resource is Bernard Ewell in Santa Fe, NM:

I hope this helps.  Please let me know if you have further questions.  Note that I have not commented on your other lithograph as I did not receive an image.  If you would like to send an image, I could try to give you some information on it as well.

Kind regards,

Fine Art

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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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