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Exhibits + Collection

Etching%2C%20%3Cb%3E%3Ci%3E%20Alice%20Frontispiece%3C%2Fi%3E%3C%2Fb%3E%2C%201969%2C%20Etching%20%2B%20color%20on%20paper
Etching, Alice Frontispiece, 1969, Etching + color on paper

Artwork Details

Title

Alice Frontispiece

Series

Alice in Wonderland

Series Description

The Alice in Wonderland portfolio contains a frontispiece which includes one etching printed at the Atelier Rigal and twelve illustrations printed by M. Nourisson with the remarques printed also at Atelier Rigal.
The 2,500 portfolios, numbered 1 – 2,500, are printed on Mandeure paper.
Each portfolio is signed in the frontispiece by Dali.
A deluxe edition of 200 portfolios, numbered I to CC, were printed on Rives paper.
This version features a second suite, printed on Japon Nacre, of the twelve illustrations.
A few portfolios of each edition are the property of the artist.
Cancelled plates owned by Schneider, remarques are destroyed.
The text is from the works of Lewis Carroll.

The Dali Museum owns edition number CXXIX of the deluxe edition.

Maker

Salvador Dalí

Date Made

1969

Materials

Etching + color on paper

Dimensions

Image: 15 1/4 in x 10 in

Accession ID Number

1989.2.1

Credit Line

Bequest of the Albert Field Estate

Location

Not on View

Copyright

All Works Copyright Protected

  • image asset 1
  • image asset 2
  • image asset 3

Description

Alice in Wonderland

The combination of Dali’s illustrations, with their vibrant colors and exotic imagery, and Lewis Carroll’s magical story has made Alice in Wonderland one of Dali’s most popular and well-known book illustrations.

Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) was the English mathematician and photographer who is best known as the author of two highly celebrated stories of fantasy; Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. One of Carroll’s favorite pastimes was to devise games and puzzles for children, and Alice was written in 1865 for the entertainment of a young girl names Alice Liddell. In this story, Carroll excelled at using inverted logic, satire, parody and suggestive symbolism to create the fabric of his fantasy. It has often been pointed out that such a superb book of nonsense could only have been written by a person with great skill as a mathematician and logician.

Carroll’s story concerns the adventures of a young girl named Alice who spies a rabbit consulting a timepiece and follows him down a rabbit hole into a world of endless magic and strangeness. She embarks upon a series of adventures in this most curious new world where liquid from a bottle marked “drink me” can make one small, while a bite of cake marked “eat me” can make one grow like an unfolding telescope.

It is the topsy-turvy world of ordered nonsense that Dali captures in his vibrant illustrations to the book. Some of the key figures in these tales, such as the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare and the Queen of Hearts have all become popular figures of fantasy. Many of them are portrayed in Dali’s illustrations.

One of the main characters in the suite is Alice herself. Throughout the suite Dali uses the image of “the girl skipping rope” as the symbol for Alice. This girl appears as Alice on the frontispiece and is repeated in details on the remaining twelve illustrations. The girl skipping rope has been a haunting figure throughout Dali’s career, appearing first in the 1930s. Dali probably derived this girl from Giorgio De Chirico’s 1914 painting Mystery and Melancholy of a Street where a girl playing with a hoop is heading into an ominous deserted street towards an empty box car.

Dali’s girl skipping rope presents a further enigma which can be seen in his 1936 painting Suburbs of a Paranoiac Critical Town. Here her shape is the same as the bell tower in the building behind her. She plays innocently in the landscape, oblivious to the threat suggested by the hallucinatory similarity between her shape and the shape of the inanimate bell tower. Her innocence is made all the more apparent by the strangeness of the world around her. Several works in the Dali Museum collection repeat this figure, including the paintings Morphological Echo from 1936 and Anthropomorphic Echo from 1937, and the drawing The Nostalgic Echo from 1935. What better symbol for Alice than the girl skipping rope. She represents the same concept that Alice does—innocence running obviously through a strange world.

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