Salvador Dalí

Gala and the Angelus of Millet Immediately Preceding the Arrival of the Conic Anamorphoses

NEW - In this small painting, Salvador Dalí combines two of his obsessions: a copy of Jean-François Millet's famous "Angelus," above the doorway, and his wife, Gala, who smiles in the background. This work contains numerous unlikely associations. The figure facing Gala resembles Vladimir Lenin; 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, which often juxtaposes unrelated objects and dream imagery.

Salvador Dalí, Paris, France

Valentine Dudensing, Paris, from the artist

8/29/1933 – 1974
Henry P. McIlhenny (1910–1986), Philadelphia, PA, USA [1]

by 1975
Robert M. Light in partnership with Artemis, London, UK, from Henry P. McIlhenny [2]

1975 –
National Gallery of Canada, purchased from Robert M. Light and Artemis through Eugene V. Thaw, New York, NY [3]

[1] 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].

[2] 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].

[3] Invoice dated July 7, 1975 [NGC, curatorial files]. Legal date for acquisition, August 7, 1975.

Gala and the Angelus of Millet Immediately Preceding the Arrival of the Conic Anamorphoses
oil on wood
24.2 x 19.2 cm
Credit line
Purchased 1975
Accession number