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Dali’s illustration for Alice in Wonderland

Dali’s illustration for Alice in Wonderland

Frontispiece for Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,’ 1969. Dali’s illustration for Alice in Wonderland

Salvador Dali’s illustration for Alice in Wonderland
Exhibited at the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts until March 25 some of the six Spanish masters on display. Among them – Picasso and Dali, who crafted illustrations for classic literature. Noteworthy, the current exhibition displays 300 Spanish prints for the first time, on loan from Russian collectors Georgy Gens and Boris Fridman. To ease viewing, organizers mounted the selected pages on the wall, and displayed boxes in glass cases. In addition, computer monitors in the first room allow visitors to virtually leaf through the books in their entirety. With diverse techniques and electric color, the show provides a wild journey through the looking-glass of artists’ books.

Dali’s illustration for Alice in Wonderland

Courtesy of the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. Dali in Pedro A. de Alarcon’s ‘Le Tricorne,’ 1958–1959

Meanwhile, artists’ books take many forms, but share some basic features. In particular, usually designed with special paper, fonts and covers, signed by the artist or publisher and produced in small numbers (usually from a dozen to a couple hundred). Printing techniques include etching, stone and wood, and the book itself can be produced as a scroll, a fold-out or loose-leaf sheets.

Dali’s surrealist illustrations for “Alice in Wonderland” perfectly capture the book’s hallucinatory spirit. They bring Carroll’s caterpillars and white rabbits to life with electric, dripping gouache. Dali probably could have done the minimalist etchings for “Faust” and “The Old Man and the Sea” in his sleep. However, his later “Dix Recettes d’immortalite” is more experimental, incorporating papermache, metal and plexiglas.

Dali’s illustration for Alice in Wonderland

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