Oil painting certified as early work by Dali

22nd May 2014, Comments 0 comments

An oil painting sold at a Spanish antique shop over two decades ago for around 150 euros ($200) has been certified as Salvador Dali's first Surrealist work which he painted as a teenager, art experts said Thursday.

Tomeu L'Amo, a painter and art historian, found the canvas at a store in Girona in northeastern Spain in 1988 and suspecting it was a work by Dali he paid 25,000 pesetas, Spain's currency at the time, for it.

"I was very happy. I felt like a kid in a candy story," he told a news conference in Madrid to discuss the conclusions of art experts who have studied the work.

"When I saw its colours I suspected it was a Dali. That was my opinion but I did not have proof. I investigated and little by little I realised it was a Dali."

"The Intrautirine Birth of Salvador Dali", which depicts angels floating in the sky over a volcano, bears the Spanish artist's signature below a short dedication.

It was dismissed for years as the work of an unknown artist because the signature includes the date 1896 -- eight years before Dali was born.

But after subjecting the painting to the latest high-tech tests -- including infrared photography, X-rays and ultraviolet radiation -- between 2004 and 2013 art experts have concluded that it is indeed the work of Dali and was made around 1921 when he was 17-years-old.

The work employs thick brushstrokes with the figures defined by strokes of black and blue pencil, said Carmen Linares, the head of the conservation department at Barcelona's Frederic Mares Museum.

"Infrared photography has improved the visualisation of the black lines thus confirming the use of this technique which is also used in other works by the artist," she said.

Handwriting analysis also concluded that the script used in the ten word dedication in the lower right part of the painting corresponds with Dali's writing style at the time.

L'Amo believes Dali, who had a reputation for making outrageous claims and carrying out media stunts, used numerology to come up with date he put on the painting.

"Dali must be laughing in his grave at the thought that he managed to fool everyone for so many years," he said.

L'Amo said he sold the work earlier this month for an amount which he refused to reveal to a collector who wishes to remain anonymous.

"The painting can be considered the first surrealist work of Dali," said Nicolas Descharnes, a leading Dali expert who has studied the painting.

Dali, who is praised by some as a creative genius for his striking and bizarre images, died in Figueres in 1989 aged 85.


© 2014 AFP

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