The Spiritual Art of Salvador Dali: A Holiday Exhibition Featuring the Complete Collection of Dali's Biblia Sacra and Divine Comedy at the William Bennett Gallery
From Genesis to Paradise, the William Bennett Gallery is proud to present The Spiritual Art of Salvador Dali, featuring the first complete exhibition of the 105 lithographs from the Biblia Sacra and the complete 100 lithographs from the Divine Comedy, through January 9, 2008, 11am–7pm, daily. These rare commissioned master pieces by the great Spanish surrealist have never before been exhibited in its entirety.
Dalí’s Biblia Sacra is the largest issued suite of the Spanish master’s work. The portfolio was commissioned by leading patron Dr. Giuseppe Albaretto, who was determined to redeem what he felt were Dalí’s wayward views by leading him back towards the Catholic Church by using the Holy Bible. Subsequently, these exquisite works illustrate Dali’s renewed ties to Christianity as well as his profound personal spirituality.
Six years in the making, the Biblia Sacra contains 105 lithographs within five illustrated volumes of the Holy Bible in Vulgate. The original illustrations were completed between 1963 and 1964, with a combination of gouache, watercolor, ink and pastel and published in 1967. Verses from the Old and New Testament of the Holy Bible accompany each illustration.
The illustrations, fertile in both color and content, exemplify Dalí’s range of creativity and artistic process. The wide variety of imagery employed by Dalí incorporates both religious and historical images; some Christian and some based on classical mythology. Additionally, Dalí’s exploration as an artist is evident in his use of “bulletism,” a Dalínian invention where an arquebus (a type of antique gun) was loaded with ink-filled capsules and then fired at blank sheets of paper. The resulting patterns were then incorporated into the suite’s compositions. Dalí’s illustrations for the bible are among the artist’s finest graphic works.
In the early 1950’s Dalí was commissioned by the Italian government to create illustrations of the text of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy in honor of the upcoming septocentennial (700 year anniversary) of the poet’s birth.
Over nine years in the making, the works were completed in 1960 and subsequently published as a set of six volumes between 1960 and 1964 by Dalí’s close friend, French art publisher Joseph Foret, at Editions d’Art les Heaures Claires. The suite, comprised of 100 watercolors, contains incredible imagery ranging from the grotesque to the sublime as Dalí follows Dante from the deepest circles of Hell, up the mountain of Purgatory, and into heavenly Paradise. These works have been reproduced by the technique of wood engraving, engravers having carved 3,500 fruit-tree blocks for the prints – approximately 35 separate blocks were hand carved per print. Dalí himself thought this suite to be one of the most important of his career and it is considered by many today to be his most incredible and notable work. In all, three editions of Dante’s Divine Comedy were published: Italian, French and German, the rarest being the German edition.
According to the Official Catalog of the Graphic Works of Salvador Dalí, published by the Salvador Dalí Archives, only around 386, of the 1000 permitted, of the Divine Comedy German edition were ever completed.
Gallery owner Bryan Ledford says “this rare exhibition embodies our commitment to making museum quality works available to our collectors.”
For media inquiries, interview requests, press kit, catalog and high resolution images, please contact STATE Public Relations press office Ryan Urcia or Kristina Ratliff at 646.714.2520 or by email at email@example.com
About William Bennett Gallery
As the newest and largest gallery, encompassing some 5,000 sq ft on two levels, located in New York’s Soho district, The William Bennett Gallery opened September 2007 with a premiere collection of twentieth century and contemporary art including one of the largest collections of original Salvador Dali watercolors and illustrations on the East Coast as well as numerous works from Picasso, Miro, Matisse. Housed in one of Soho’s best preserved examples of NYC’s 19th century cast-iron architecture, the 120 year old building has served as a bread bakery, industrial machine shop, and now the William Bennett Gallery settles in to foster relationships on a mutual passion for art. The gallery creates an inviting scholarly setting for collectors ranging from the novice to art connoisseur, and offers a series of informative dialogs to educate new art collectors. Visit www.williambennettgallery.com
About William Bryan Ledford
From his humble upbringing in Central Florida, Bryan Ledford has rapidly become one of Soho’s most recognized Art Dealers. After a full career as a touring musician and while simultaneously studying for a business administration degree at Rollins College, he was ready for a permanent relocation to San Francisco where his entrepreneurial talents were recognized by one of the leading American art dealers of all-time. After ‘cutting his teeth’ in the art world by successfully managing multi-million dollar artist programs for icons like LeRoy Neiman and Salvador Dali, ultimately guiding them to unprecedented levels of prosperity for the gallery, Ledford was ready to explore the other parts of the world. After a visit to Paris where he further developed his friendship and working relationship with heirs to longtime Dali publisher Pierre Argillet’s estate, Ledford returned to the United States, this time setting on a course that would lead closer to opening his own gallery. After 3 years as the Director of one of Soho’s longest running and most successful galleries, he felt the timing could not have better for him to open his own gallery- The William Bennett Gallery.