Philippe Halsman’s ‘Dali Atomicus’ has been described as “the photo that changed modern portraiture”.
Featuring a floating chair, leaping cats, a splash of water captured mid-flight and the eponymous surrealist himself, Halsman’s picture – taken in 1948 – completely rewrote the rulebook when it came to portrait photography. Previously viewed as stiff and detached, ‘Dali Atomicus’ was anything but; it was alive.
Now, an original print of the portrait (one of just three created at the time – and the only one of which the whereabouts are still known) is showcasing in public for the first since 1951, exhibiting at the LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair from 15 – 20 September.
As a visual encapsulation of Salvador Dali’s mind and work, the ‘Dali Atomicus’ is evocative of everything Halsman and his approach to portraiture. It took the assembled cast – assistants, Halsman’s wife, his young daughter Irene – 26 takes to perfect, and it’s not difficult to understand why. It’s much more than just a portrait.
Oh, and it’s priced at around £10,000, if you fancy it.
Read our feature on Dali in Volume #20 of tmrw.