CEN/Bonhams

Long-Lost Dali Painting Of Sister Up For Auction In London

A long-lost painting of acclaimed Spanish artist Salvador Dali is set be auctioned off next month in London.

 

On 2nd March the art world will meet at the famous auction house Bonhams in Central London for the sale, with the painting set to clinch more than a million pounds.

 

The painting is called Figura de Perfil (La hermana Anna Maria) - Side-Face Figure (Sister Anna Maria) - was done in 1925 at Dali's home.

 

It was exhibited only once that year in the Dalmau hall in the city of Barcelona, in the eastern Spanish region of Catalonia, but then it was not seen again.

 

It was one of his first pieces of work and was a portrait of his sister, who was presented with the work as a gift.

 

It is believed it was then handed around between friends and family over recent years, although the journey it has been on is largely unknown. It was long believed that the portrait had been lost.

 

Montse Aguer, Director of the Dali Museum, said it will "never be known" who had had it all along.

 

She said: "We believed that one of the owners might be Joaquim Cusi, who owned the laboratory Cusi in the city of Figueres, and was a close friend of Dali’s family but we cannot confirm."

 

He said the painting has been estimated at between 938,000 and 1,408,000 EUR (800,000 and 1,200,000 GBP) but the bidding could reach much higher during the auction.

 

Figura de Perfil combines two of Dali’s favoured subjects to paint - his sister Anna Maria and the Cadaques coastline.

 

Dali regularly painted his sister throughout the 1920s and 30s including one inspired from a 1930s pornographic magazine which encouraged rumours of Dali’s sexual interest in Anna Maria.

 

India Phillips, Bonhams Head of Impressionist and Modern Art, said the art world was "excited" about the auction.

 

She said: "What makes this work so remarkable is the sheer rarity. Only a handful of work from this period exists outside public collections. This work was created at the very genesis of his leap into Surrealism."

 

Anna Maria had a tragic life. She was arrested in 1938 by republicans and accused of being a spy. She was tortured and raped for 17 days. She was only freed after breaking down in a deep mental crisis. She then became a depression writer and even wrote her brother's memoirs.