Dedicated 'A Luis' (top left)
A little bit of background
In 1934 Dali made a small surrealist Oil painting entitled “The Ghost of Vermeer of Delft Which Can Be Used As a Table”. It makes reference to 'The Art of Paintings' by Johannes Vermeer- a famous seventeenth-century work in which a painter (thought to be a self-portrait of Vermeer) is depicted with his back to us in distinctive costume.
It is one of a number of paintings expressive of Dalí's enormous admiration for Vermeer. In 'The Ghost of Vermeer', Vermeer is represented as a dark spindly figure in a kneeling position. The figure's outstretched leg serves as a table top surface, on which sits a bottle and a small glass. This leg tapers to a baluster-like stub; there is a shoe nearby. The walls and the distant views of the mountains are based on real views near Dalí's home in Port Lligat . In Vermeer's painting the artist leans on a maulstick , and his hand is painted with an unusual blurriness, perhaps to indicate movement. In Dalí's painting, Vermeer rests the same arm on a crutch. It is unsigned and undated but known to have been completed c.1934. It s currently on display at the Salvador Dali Museum in St Petersburg, Florida, on loan from the E and A Reynolds Morse collection. “The Ghost of Vermeer” should also be seen in the context of his other reworkings of historic paintings, such as several works inspired by Millet’s Angelus.
Our drawing is a later remembrance of this classic Dali surrealist image.