Salvador Dalí - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session New York Wednesday, November 16, 2022 | Phillips

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  • "With the drawers, it is now possible to look at the soul of the Venus de Milo through her body."
    —Salvador Dalí
    Salvador Dalí’s Vénus de Milo aux tiroirs (Venus de Milo with Drawers) is regarded as one of the most important sculptures by the famed Surrealist. Originally cast in plaster in 1934 and later in editioned bronze versions in different sizes in 1964, this work stands over seven feet tall, almost the exact same size as the 2nd Century BCE Venus de Milo sculpture of Aphrodite it references, housed in the Musée du Louvre, Paris. Dalí’s take on the original marble antiquity showcases his manipulation of classical references to create his own obscure, dream-like artworks. Here, fantasy is erected by way of drawers emanating from the figure’s chest, abdomen, and legs.  The Venus de Milo is the first woman he modeled as a child, in clay, copying a reproduction that adorned his family’s dining room. He recalled: "I also did, at this period, a copy of the Venus de Milo in clay; it was the source of my first attempt at sculpture and an unforgettable and delicious erotic pleasure."i


    Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic work around dreams greatly influenced Dalí and the Surrealists in their efforts to permeate the subconscious. In the present work we experience the Roman goddess of sexuality, love, and desire, becoming an inanimate cabinet. As the artist proclaimed, "you see, in Greek civilization there is no introspection, no Freud, no Christianity."ii With the addition of drawers, Dalí attempts to peek inside some of the most secretive and private of human sensibilities. 

    i Robert and Nicolas Descharnes, Dalí: Le dur et le mou, Sculptures & Objects, Paris, 2003, p. 32.

    ii Ibid.

    • Provenance

      Gattlen-Galerie, Lausanne
      Private Collection, Europe
      Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York (acquired from the above in 1998)
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Literature

      Robert and Nicolas Descharnes, Dalí: Le dur et le mou, Sculptures & Objects, Paris, 2003, no. 68, pp. 32, 37 (another cast illustrated, p. 37)

    • 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


Vénus de Milo aux tiroirs

incised with the artist’s signature and number “Salvador Dalí E.A. III/IV” upper center of the base; stamped with the foundry mark "C. Valsuani Cire Perdue" on the left side of the base
86 x 28 x 30 in. (218.4 x 71.1 x 76.2 cm)
Conceived in 1964 and cast in 1988, this work is artist’s proof EA 3 from an edition of 8 plus 4 artist's proofs marked EA, 2 non-commercial proofs marked HCM and 1 foundry proof marked HCF.

Full Cataloguing

$250,000 - 350,000 

Contact Specialist

Annie Dolan
Specialist, Head of Day Sale, Morning Session
+1 212 940 1288

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session

New York Auction 16 November 2022