"Daddy Longlegs of the Evening - Hope!" ("Araignée du soir, espoir") - 1940. (Including: soft aeroplane, vomited by a cannon, ants, victory born of a broken wing, violoncello in white mastic, and an angel who weeps).
Dalí and his wife, Gala, stayed in the United States from 1940 to 1948 due to the war in Europe which drove him and his fellow Surrealists into exile. This was the first painting Dalí completed after coming to America. The victory referred to in the title is the classical sculpture of the winged Nike of Samothrace who emerges shrouded while rising from the limp airplane. The cannon from the deflated plane is reminiscent of Giorgio de Chirico’s "The Philosopher Conquest of 1914."
An anguished head occupies the center, but here it has become a soft structure infused with sunset colors. The head is metamorphosed into an elastic female figure whose breasts are mimicked by two inkwells (erotic symbols in Dalí’s iconography) which suggest the signing of treaties (and Dalí’s father’s role as a notary). Ants eat away at the figure’s mouth as they do in countless other paintings, indicating the insidious destruction swallowing Europe. The viscous cello and bow suggest that all of Europe’s highest precepts were helpless to prevent the destruction of culture at the hands of a fascist regime.
The painting’s title refers to an old French peasant legend: a spider seen in the evening is a symbol of good luck.
1941, Chicago, The Arts Club of Chicago, “Salvador Dali”
1941, New York, Julien Levy Gallery, “Salvador Dalí”
1941, Los Angeles, Dalzell Hatfield Galleries, “Salvador Dalí”
1943, New York, Art of this Century, “Art of this Century : 15 Early Paintings. 15 Late Paintings”
1947, Cleveland, Cleveland Museum of Art, “Print Club of Cleveland-Salvador Dalí: An Exhibition”
1954, Roma, Sale dell'Aurora Pallavicini, “Mostra di quadri disegni ed oreficerie di Salvador Dalí”
1965, New York, Gallery of Modern Art, “Salvador Dalí, 1910-1965”
2000, St. Petersburg, Florida, The Salvador Dalí Museum, “James Rosenquist: Paintings James Rosenquist: Selects DALI”
2004, Venezia, Palazzo Grassi, "Dali Retrospective"
2005, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art, "Dali Retrospective"
2006, Tokyo, Ueno Royal Museum, “Dalí Centennial Retrospective”
2007, St. Petersburg, Fl., Salvador Dalí Museum, “Dalí and the Spanish Baroque”
2009, Melbourne, National Gallery of Victoria, "Salvador Dalí : Liquid Desire"