‘Dali Atomicus’ photograph to be showcased for the first time since 1951

532 429 Staff Writer

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. 

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