The two rare Salvador Dali paintings Gradiva, created in 1931, and Maison Pour Érotomane, painted in 1932, have just been rediscovered and will be hitting the market for the first time ever when they go up for auction at Sotheby’s at the end of February.
Gradiva was the name that Dali affectionately bestowed upon his wife and muse Gala, and was also the name of a novel written in 1902 by Wilhelm Jensen in which an archaeologist becomes besotted with a female he sees on a piece of art hanging in a museum in Rome.
His desire for this woman is so strong that upon finding himself back at home in Germany again, he has a replica of the work created which he affixes to the wall in his study so that he can meditate upon the object of his dreams at his leisure.
While Sigmund Freud found the story of Gradiva so thoroughly enchanting that he ended up dedicating his time in 1907 to a study entitled Delusion and Dream in Jensen’s Gradiva, Salvador Dali took out his paintbrush and created his own version of the heroine specifically for Countess de Cuevas de Vera.
The Countess, also affectionately known by close friends as Tota, had a wide circle of artistic acquaintances at the time including Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Le Corbusier, and Luis Buñuel, with whom she became romantically involved.
Sotheby’s Thomas Bompard explained that Salvador Dali enjoyed the companionship of strong women and that “Tota was a magnet to Dali,” according to The Guardian.
— Sotheby’s (@Sothebys) February 7, 2018
When not in Buenos Aires, the Argentine Countess could usually be found in France, and it was thanks to a close friend of the family named Eugenia Errázuriz that Tota was able to move in the artistic circles that she did. As Sotheby’s note, Eugenia Errázuriz explained that Tota’s charm held her in good stead with artists.
“She used her considerable charm to maintain a decisive influence on the careers and paths of poets, musicians and artists in general. She was very much part of the Surrealist world.”
The second Salvador Dali painting up for auction, Maison Pour Érotomane, was also given to Countess de Cuevas de Vera, and is centered upon a Catalan background in which the figures of a car, a cello, and a horse can be seen in one of Dali’s classic hallucinatory visions. Perhaps this is why Bompard has said that it was during the years that Salvador created these two paintings that he finally “became himself.”
As these two Dali paintings have been in the family of Tota since the 1930s and will be going up for auction for the first time, Thomas Bompard does not exaggerate when he states that works of art like these are why he is so very happy to be in the profession that he is.
“These are the kind of painting that I do my job for. They are a rediscovery. The quality is A plus plus plus. When you first see them and have to give a price you feel absolutely privileged to be the one to bring these gems to the market for the first time.”
Salvador Dali’s Gradiva and Maison Pour Érotomane paintings will go up for auction at Sotheby’s on February 28 and are expected to fetch between £1.2 and £1.8 million.