You are here:

Fine Art/Determining value of 2 Dali pochoir stencils


I bought 2 (supposedly) original lithos from woodblock; of a scene from Inferno and Purgatorio from The Divine Comedy series. I purchased these back in 1979 at a Gallery in Nevada. I still have their certificate of authenticity.
Having said this; years ago I had them both appraised and the appraiser stated that they were "pochoir", stencil process.
My question to you, is there any value to these two works.  Not sure I would sell them; I was very young at the time of purchase and I still enjoy looking at them, in my home.
I am of retirement age now; and wondering "if" down the road, I may need some cash if these might be helpful to me.
Any insight would be gratefully appreciated!
Thank You,
In either case, I will always enjoy Dali, character, that he was!

Dear Jane,

Thank you for your question.  I'm a bit confused by your appraiser identifying your works as 'pochoir' (stencil). As I understand, Dali's Divine Comedy prints should be neither lithographs nor pochoir, but woodblock prints.

Before getting into medium, authenticity, and value, a little bit about Dali's Divine Comedy series: Dali was commissioned to design a set of 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.  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.

There is a tremendous proliferation of fake Dali graphics on the market.  The Divine Comedy prints are especially sticky because about 8,534 editions were published between French, German, and Italian editions, and most were subsequently taken apart so the images could be sold separately.  

In short, it is difficult to know what you have, especially with your description of the works as lithographs and your appraiser describing them as pochoir.  If you indeed have a set of woodblock prints from the Divine Comedy, they could be worth a fair amount: According to Bruce Hochman's 2007 'Annual Print Price Guide to the Graphic Works of Salvador Dali', Divine Comedy prints are valued at $4,800 each.  Please note that I have found Hochman's price guide to be generally higher than market, but it gives you a sense of value.  I am not an appraiser or authenticator myself, so I am depending wholly on others' opinions and research to counsel you on value.  You would be well-advised to seek the services of a professional appraiser.

Unfortunately, certificates of authenticity can be forged as easily as artworks.  If you were buying, I would strongly advise asking that the works be authenticated by a professional before purchase; as you are already the owner, that step is up to you. If you do decide to have the works appraised or authenticated, I recommend contacting the Salvador Dali Archives in New York:
Another great resource is Bernard Ewell in Santa Fe, NM: ,
or the Salvador Dali Society:

Regardless of authenticity or value, it's clear that you very much enjoy your works, which is the most important thing!  I hope this helps and perhaps leads you on the track to further information.

Good luck!
Kind regards,

Fine Art

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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

©2016 All rights reserved.