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Fine Art/Dali woodblock


Hello Mr. King,
I inherited what looks to be a signed woodblock of "on Geryon's Back". It is signed by Dali in red with the initials EA. I am wondering what this is, where I can have it appraised, and where I may have it safely reframed (the glass broke).
Thanks, Kris

Dear Kris,

Thank you for your question. "On Geryon's Back" is one of the 101 watercolors made into woodblock prints that Dali created to illustrate Dante's Divine Comedy.  Dali was commissioned to design this set of watercolors 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 the French publishing house, Les Heures Claires.

As far as subject matter, Geryon is a winged beast who appears in The Divine Comedy between the seventh and eighth circles of Hell. He helps Dante and his guide through the netherworld, Virgil, enter the eighth circle by carrying them on his back down the cliff.

Unfortunately, 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. For questions of value, you would be well-advised to seek the services of a professional appraiser such as the Salvador Dali Archives in New York:
Another great resource is Bernard Ewell in Santa Fe, NM:  EA, by the way, stands for 'epreuve d'artiste', or 'artist's proof', and was used to designate editions outside the numbered editions. These might have been made for select individuals or to advertise the edition to galleries. Some fraudulent graphics are marked 'EA', so, again, it's good to have the work examined.  

Most reputable framers will do a good job framing your graphic, and if all it needs is replaced glass, they may be able to do it while you wait (or they might be able to cut the glass and have you bring the work in). I would probably be reluctant to leave the work with a framer, but, again, in most cases they can assemble all the parts so all you have to do is bring the work in and they'll replace the glass. I have had good results with Hobby Lobby if you have one in your area.

I hope this helps. Good luck!
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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