Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dalí's Jewels (and more copyright)

Here’s my Salvador Dalí post. Late again. I’m a bit worried it won’t live up to all the hype, but here it goes.

First things first. After writing about copyright last week, I decided to experiment. I actually asked for permission to use photographs of some of Dalí’s art. First, I contacted the Teatre-Museu Dalí, the museum that owns the pieces I wanted to use. They have a “Rights and Images” section on their website, but after I emailed their Intellectual Property Department, they told me to contact VEGAP, the artist’s rights society that manages Dalí's reproduction rights on their behalf. But, they’re a Spanish organization. After I emailed them, they told me to contact ARS, the group that covers Dalí in the United States. I should have just done that from the start. I was already familiar with ARS and its sister organizations from an internship I did at MoMA.

Anyway, I finally made some progress. I described my blog, specified the images I wanted to use, told them that I believe what I’m doing falls under fair use, and asked them to clarify their policies. In response, they said that what I’m doing generally is not considered fair use (if you open yourself up by contacting a rights organization in the first place, they basically have to say that no matter what), but that they would be willing to waive the fees (thank you!) on three conditions:
  1. The term is limited to one year.
  2. Their copyright credit is included with the Dalí’ works.
  3. The resolution is no more than 1024 x 768 pixels at 72 dpi.
I agreed. Get your Dalí fix now. In a year, this post has to come down. Unless I just get rid of the pictures.

On to Dalí.

He is so much more prolific than I was expecting! I knew about his hyper-realistic surrealism, his melting clocks, his crutches supporting bulbous noses, his spindly-legged elephants, his ants. . . . I even knew about his film where he takes a razor blade to a cow’s eye. What I didn’t know as much about is his photography, his set design, his fashion, his architecture, his literature . . . . He even designed the logo for Chupa Chups Lollipops!

Cheapest way to own a Dalí.

Before I discovered all of these awesome new things, I was going to talk to you about Dalí’s study for Memory of the Child Woman. I love the graphic quality of its squiggly lines, and the isolated areas of subtle color add something great.

Salvador Dalí, Study for Memory of the Child Woman, 1932, 32.5 x 28cm.
© 2012 Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí,  Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

But, I changed my mind. I found something better. Today I’m going to talk to you about Dalí’s jewels. Specifically The Living Flower.

Salvador Dalí,The Living Flower, 1959, 39 x 25.2 cm.
© 2012 Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí,  Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Dalí designed his jewels between 1941 and 1970. While New York jeweler Carlos Alemany executed the designs, Dalí chose the metals and handpicked each gem. The Living Flower has a base of dark green malachite with two leafy 18-karat gold stems twisting up out of the rock. The flowers themselves are encrusted with diamonds.

But that’s not the best part. When you look closely, you can see the petals and stamen are shaped like tiny outstretched human hands. On the main flower, each hand reaches up to the sky as if it was grasping at the light. I love representational metalwork, and I love seeing body parts where they shouldn’t be.

You can buy a brooch version of The Living Flower here.

But that’s not the best part either. The best part is that it moves! Hidden inside the malachite is a system of weights and pulleys. When set in motion by what Dalí calls “electrical impulses,” the lower flower's petals slowly unfurl to reveal even more diamonds. It all makes it seem alive. Apparently, Dalí thought of The Living Flower as a metaphor for the artistic process, from conception to creation. “The malachite represents the unknown, latent forces; the gold and diamond flowers, known beauty and creativity.” It’s all wonderfully human and humanly bizarre.

To see a video of The Living Flower and other Dalí jewels go here. Be sure to stick around until the end!

Something else that’s wonderfully bizarre is Dalí himself. Most of us are familiar with his signature mustache, but among countless other eccentricities, he also had a pet ocelot named Babou.

The ocelot in Archer is named after Dalí's.

If you want to see Dalí’s jewels and pay your respects all at the same time, Dalí is buried in a crypt at his Teatre-Museu in Figueres, Spain.

No comments:

Post a Comment