Gala is for Dali the personification of the inaccessible desire. He nicknames her Gradiva from a Pompeian statue passionately loved by an archaeologist in a novel by Jensen. Meanwhile Dali's family is upset. The father takes under the name Guillaume Tell the role of the castrator in Dali's exacerbated complex of Oedipus. Sigmund Freud will be delighted by this case of obsessive psychiatry. Gala's sudden and lasting infatuation with Dali would also deserve a psychoanalytic explanation.
In 1930 Dali and Gala settle in Paris. He paints Guillaume Tell, oil and collage on canvas 113 x 87 cm acquired in 2002 by the Centre Pompidou. The castrator has a knee placed on a stele decorated with the Dalinian Gradiva next to a phallus as high as her.
In 1931 two oils on copper build the story of Gradiva illustrated by Dali as a resurgence of Andromeda chained to the rock. Gradiva is Gala, the sole object of Dali's worship, with no remaining reference to Jensen.
That first opus titled Gradiva, 21 x 16 cm, is estimated £ 1.2M for sale by Sotheby's in London on February 28, lot 33. The body of the woman is twisted in the sufferings of a St. Sebastian which have here an orgasmic dimension. The shredded tunic reveals the breasts and especially the sex centered by the appealing lips of a mouth. A drop of blood flows on the thigh.
The same sale includes also as lot 34 a study for Gradiva of similar size and same provenance which is probably the final preparatory drawing for the painting above. It is estimated £ 60K.
The final image 30 x 24 cm in the same rocky surrounding is titled Guillaume Tell et Gradiva. It was acquired in 1996 by the Dali Museum in Figueres. The woman remains in a similar position but is now completely naked. Beside her an ithyphallic humanoid once again prevents the lover from accessing his desire.
Please watch the video of Gradiva shared by Sotheby's.
RESULTS INCLUDING PREMIUM
Painting : £ 2.7M
Preparatory drawing : £ 100K