Dalí Sculpture, ‘Horse Saddled with Time’

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Thursday, 2018, January 11

The story of the creation of the Horse saddled with Time sculpture, is an interesting one. Dalí used the image of the horse throughout his work, in fact the series of graphics’ Dalínian Horses (1972) are notable for their vivid use of color and strong vibrant images of horses.  

During the 1980s, Mr Beniamino Levi, President of the Dalí Universe, began discussing with Salvador Dalí the possibility of creating a sculpture of a horse.  Dalí created a wooden model of a horse and then created the maquette in wax, moulding it with his fingers. The hand markings where the wax is molded in the horse’s mane area, are visible in the cast bronze sculpture.  This episode of working closely with Dali has marked Levi, he recounts it as one of the highlights of his experiences with the artist.  

 In fact, Robert Descharnes in the catalogue raisonee’ of Dalí sculpture ‘The Hard and the Soft’, describes the creative process which he witnessed first hand; ‘kneaded by the thumbs of the artist.... the small layers of wax gave birth to the horse. … Dalí molded the soft watch like a saddle… after five hours work… the model was ready to go the foundry.’ The sculpture in bronze, since being conceived and first cast in 1980, has proved to be a bestseller, possibly because it combines in one image all the elements that were important to Dalí; the watch -face saddle signifying time; and the smaller melted clock hanging beside the horse, again amplifying this inordinate theme of time and progress as well as the image of the horse as a surrealistic beast.

In ‘La Vie Secrete’, Dalí's autobiography published in 1942, the artist stated "The mechanical object was to become my worst enemy, and as for watches, they would have to be soft, or not be at all!”  Dalí believed that humans cannot rely on the non-dreaming or "real" world to show the absolute truth. This theme is evident in his sculpture Horse Saddled with Time.  The horse, one of the most famous Dalínian images, is saddled with Dalínian time: it is time which controls of all of man’s passage. 

Several other sculptures featured in the Dalí Universe collection have a horse in the image, Surrealist Warrior and Lady Godiva, all used to great effect.