Salvador Dali is a Spanish-born artist who moved to Paris and joined a group of artists that were receptive to ideas found in André Breton’s “The Surrealist Manifesto”, which was published in 1924. Breton argued that the unconscious mind could be a source of artistic inspiration, and artists like Dali contributed to the development of Surrealism by painting fantastical dream worlds with only a passing resemblance to physical reality.
Untitled is a 1932 oil on canvas painting by Dali that was recently authenticated by the esteemed Dali experts Nicholas and Olivier Descharnes after seven months of research. Archival photos of the work show it hanging in the Monaco apartment of the original owner in the 1940s. The work depicts what Nicholas Descharnes believes to be an outrigger flagpole emerging from a darkened window which is set against a barren landscape, fragments of a brick wall, and a cloudy skyscape colored with shades of green.
Dali’s The Persistence of Memory was painted in 1931, only one year before Untitled. Currently held by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, it is undoubtedly one of the most iconic images to have emerged from the Surrealist movement.
The flagpole motif appears in Dali’s work throughout the 1930s, such as in Morning Ossification of the Cypress and Dreams on a Beach, both from 1934, as well as in The Alert from 1938. However, in keeping with Surrealist principles, the true meaning of Untitled remains enigmatic, and the symbolic significance of its imagery is intentionally left unclear.