Author(s): Paul Skellett
Salvador Dali is widely regarded as one of the great artists of the 20th century. Rumour and alleged scandals followed him throughout his life, and continued long after his death in 1989. When German troops entered Bordeaux, Salvador and Gala escaped France to live in the United States, where they remained until 1948. It is widely regarded that Dali's most iconic and inspired work transpired during his time in America. On September 2 1941, in a bid to raise funds for artists fleeing the Nazis, as well as enhance his profile in the USA, Dali orchestrated the Surrealist Ball at the Del Monte Lodge, Pebble Beach, California. At the event, Salvador and Gala Dali were photographed by friend Julian Graham as they created and hosted, A Surrealistic Night in an Enchanted Forest. Celebrities including Bob Hope, Clark Gable, Gloria Vanderbilt, Ginger Rogers, and Robinson Jeffers, were served soup from high-heeled shoes and a course of live frogs - that promptly escaped.
What made this event so important was that Dali understood how to attract media attention and this event paved the way for the media savvy artists who followed decades later, such as the legendary Pop Culture Artist, Andy Warhol. This picture book is staged in two parts. Part one follows Dali's painstaking and hands-on preparation of the event, showing him and a small team dressing the venue, constructing the costumes and choreographing the evening's theatrical interludes. Part two concentrates purely on the party and the unique guest experience. Dali's 1941 also pays homage to the photographic career of Julian Graham, as well as giving readers visual context to the era by way of periodical news excerpts, painting the cultural and social picture of the United States as the country prepared to enter the second world war. With previously unseen and physically unpublished photographs, painstakingly restored and re-mastered, the ball is brought to life through the permission of archive custodians, Bancroft library at Berkeley University and is realised in partnership with Bad Halo Ltd, under their Wonderland Publication publishing brand.