Bonham’s (www.bonhams.com) Impressionist and Modern sale on the 2nd of March will have as its highlight a portrait of Dalí’s sister, painted in 1925.
It is the first time ‘The Portrait, Figura de perfil ( La Hermana Ana Maria)’ has been offered for sale.
Their relationship was initially on good terms, but then deteriorated after Dalì published his autobiography ‘The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí’ in 1942. His sister Ana Maria, published a rival biography in 1949 ‘Salvador Dali as Seen by his Sister’. After publication, Dalì decided to paint another version of Figura de perfil, this version entitled ‘Young Virgin Autosodomised by her own Chastity’ (1954)’.
Dalí often painted his sister through the 1920s, often painting her by a window where he included the coastline of Cadaques in the portraits.
In fact, Ana Maria was the artist's model until 1929, when Dalí met Gala and his relationship with his sister entered a different phase. Dalì gave the portrait to his sister and it has been consigned to auction by the current owners. It was also one of numerous paintings he chose to include in his first solo exhibition at the Galeries Dalmau, Barcelona, in 1925.
This painting was created at the turning point in Dalí ’s artistic career, when he was poised to embark on a new chapter, that of Surrealism.
India Phillips, Head of Department at Bonham’s Impressionist and Modern, comments, ‘It is laden with meaning and utterly enigmatic, it is one of the most beautiful works I have had the pleasure of handling’.