Salvador Dalí - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction Hong Kong Sunday, June 6, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Perhaps the best-known artist of the Surrealist movement, Salvador Dali conceived Le Cabinet Anthropomorphique (‘The Anthropomorphic Cabinet’) during a prolonged visit to London in 1936. An admirer of the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud, Dali’s uncanny female subject is transformed into a human cabinet, a series of stacked opened and closed drawers through her torso flanked by her outstretched arm, falling hair and distorted limbs. The bottom drawer, adjacent to her lap, is functioning and can be unlocked by two keys respectively depicting male and female genitalia. 


    Freud believed that the human body is a cabinet of drawers filled with secrets which can only be revealed by studying the unconscious mind. Originally conceiving the Cabinet Anthropomorphique as a painting, in 1979, assisted by Marcel Duchamp, Dali modified a plaster cast of the Venus de Milo to create what would become one of his most iconic sculptures.


    Salvador Dali
    Salvador Dali, The Anthropomorphic Cabinet, 1936



    • Provenance

      Acquired directly from Mibrosa by the present owner in the 1980s

    • Literature

      Franco Passoni, Reynolds Morse and Albert Field, Dalí, Milan, 1986, p. 79 (another example exhibited)
      Beniamino Levi, The Dalí Universe, London, 2000, pp. 80-81 (another example exhibited)
      Robert & Nicolas Descharnes, Dalí. Le dur et le mou, sortilège et magie des formes, Paris, 2004, no. 683, p. 266 (another example exhibited)
      Françoise Lechien, Dalí, Dalí! ou l'éclosion apothéosique d'un sculpteur, Brussels, 2004, pp. 70, 99 (another example exhibited)

    • Artist Biography

      Salvador Dalí

      Spanish • 1904 - 1989

      Salvador Dalí was perhaps the most broadly known member of the Surrealist movement of the early twentieth century. Heavily influenced by Sigmund Freud, the avant-garde style explored consciousness and dream-like states through exaggerated landscapes and bizarre or grotesque imagery. Using the means of painting, sculpture, printmaking, film and literature, Dalí explored these ideas with a meticulous hand and inventive wit. 

      Although known for his role in Surrealism, Dalí was also a seminal example of celebrity showmanship and the cult of personality, a phenomenon that dominates popular culture today. Always a colorful and flamboyant presence with his signature cape, wide-eyed expression and trademark upturned waxed mustache, Dalí was a master of self-promotion and spectacle.

      View More Works


Le Cabinet Anthropomorphique

incised with the artist's signature and number '241/330 Dali' on the side; further stamped with the Mibrosa, Barcelona foundry stamp on the back
bronze sculpture with brown patina, and two bronze keys
32 x 60 x 14 cm. (12 5/8 x 23 5/8 x 5 1/2 in.)
Conceived in 1973, executed in 1982, this work is number 241 from an edition of 330 and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by Mibrosa.

Full Cataloguing

HK$80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for HK$302,400

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Associate Specialist, Head of Day Sale

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction

Hong Kong Auction 7 June 2021