Figura de perfil, a portrait painting by Salvador Dali of his sister, achieved an impressive price at Bonhams Impressionist and Modern Art in London
LONDON- Figura de perfil (La Hermana Ana María) by Salvador Dali was sold for $2,197,795 (£1,805,000) at Bonhams Impressionist and Modern Art in London recently. Estimated at £800,000-1,200,000, the works surpassed all expectation to the delight of Bonhams Auction house.
“This was an important and rare work from a pivotal period in Dali’s life and career. The painting had never appeared at auction before and I am not surprised it was so keenly fought over nor that it achieved such an impressive price,” notes India Phillips, Bonhams Head of Modern and Impressionist Art.
Figura de perfil (1925) is the portrait of Salvador Dali’s sister Ana María. Ana María and Salvador Dali were in good terms when the portrait was painted. Their cordiality is evident in the painting, which combines two of Dali’s favored subjects, his sister Ana María and the Cadaqués coastline that he referred to as “by far the most beautiful place in the world”.
In Figura de perfil, Salvador Dali captures his sister in a serene mood looking through a window. In the distance is the Cadaqués coastline. Dali’s use of grays draws attention to the personality of his sister. From her body language and posture, viewers are presented to a contemplative woman. The portrait shows Dali’s deep affection for his sister. That deep affection translated into many portraits. Through the 1920s, Dali painted Ana María regularly. Of the countless portraits Salvador Dali painted of his sister, Figura de perfil was his favorite, and the one he gave to her.
The pleasant relationship between Salvador Dali and his sister did not last a lifetime. In 1942, the two had a falling out after the publication of Dali’s autobiographical The Secret Life of Dali. Ana María disputed Dali’s account and the portrayal of their family. To put the record straight, she published a rival work: Salvador Dali as Seen by his Sister (1949).
Figura de perfil is an important work in Dali’s career. It was created at a point when the artist was on the verge of entering the Surrealist phase for which he is best known. After experiencing Impressionism, Pointillism, Fauvism and Cubism, Salvador Dali decided to embrace Surrealism in 1925. Figura de perfil is one of the few works exemplifying that transition.
The painting was out of public view for nearly a century until its august appearance at the Bonhams Impressionist and Modern Art. Figura de perfil was presented by Ana Maria to the family of the present owners who put it up for auction.