Gala and the Angelus of Millet Immediately Preceding the Arrival of the Conic Anamorphoses, 1933
Spanish, 1904 - 1989
oil on wood
24.2 x 19.2 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 18456)
© SODRAC, 2003
In this tiny painting, Salvador Dalí combines two of his obsessions, namely Jean-François Millet's famous "Angelus", a copy of which is placed above the doorway, and his wife, Gala, who is in the background smiling. There are many unlikely associations and people in this work. The figure facing Gala bears a resemblance to Vladimir Lenin, while a bust on the ledge of the wall may be André Breton, the poet and leader of the Surrealist movement with which Dalí was associated. Russian writer Maxim Gorki ushers us into the scene from behind the door, wearing a lobster, one of Dalí's favourite props, on his head. This strange and illogical scene is characteristic of Surrealism, in which juxtapositions of unrelated objects and dream imagery are common.
Salvador Dalí, Paris, France
Valentine Dudensing, Paris, from the artist
8/29/1933 – 1974
Henry P. McIlhenny (1910–1986), Philadelphia, PA, USA 
Robert M. Light in partnership with Artemis, London, UK, from Henry P. McIlhenny 
National Gallery of Canada, purchased from Robert M. Light and Artemis through Eugene V. Thaw, New York, NY 
 According to the invoice, art collector and curator Henry P. McIlhenny acquired the work from Valentine Dudensing on August 29, 1933 [copy of invoice from Dudensing, NGC, curatorial files, Henry P. McIlhenny Papers, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Box 81, folder 2, Dudensing, Valentine]. In his correspondence, McIlhenny recalls the sale: "...for myself I acquired an interesting surréaliste work by Salvador Dalí. The title is 'Gala et l'Angelus de Millet précédant immédiatement la venue des anamorphes coniques.' Its meaning is incomprehensible, but it is beautifully painted, like a primitive in its minuteness. Tiny, and in a black velvet box frame it's very striking and fascinating." Rishel, Joseph P. “The Henry P. McIlhenny Collection, An Illustrated History.” (Philadelphia, PA: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1987), p. 38].
 According to a note from Gyde V. Shepherd, former assistant director, to curator Brydon Smith, Robert M. Light and Artemis owned the painting jointly [memo dated July 4, 1975, NGC, curatorial files].
 Invoice dated July 7, 1975 [NGC, curatorial files]. Legal date for acquisition, August 7, 1975.Provenance completed