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Surrealist Object Functioning Symbolically

A work made of shoe, black marble, white marble, photographs, clay, hair, glass, wax, wood, yellow metal, mixed media.
© Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, 2018

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  • A work made of shoe, black marble, white marble, photographs, clay, hair, glass, wax, wood, yellow metal, mixed media.

Date:

1931/73

Artist:

Salvador Dalí
Spanish, 1904–1989

About this artwork

During the year he created this work, Salvador Dalí wrote the foundational text, “Surrealist Objects” (1931), in which he described it at length:

“A woman’s shoe, inside of which a glass of warm milk has been placed, in the center of a soft paste in the color of excrement. The mechanism consists of the dipping in the milk of a sugar lump, on which there is a drawing of a shoe, so that the dissolving of the sugar, and consequently of the image of the shoe, may be observed. Several accessories (pubic hairs glued to a sugar lump, an erotic little photograph) complete the object, which is accompanied by a box of spare sugar lumps and a special spoon used for stirring lead pellets inside the shoe.”

Bringing together these ordinary and highly charged elements to illicit a psychological response, Dalí conjured Sigmund Freud’s theory of fetishism, which describes the unconscious impulse for sexual gratification fixating on a single body part or object, such as shoes. Throughout the 1930s, shoes continued to appear in the artist’s work, often serving as stand-ins for Gala, the woman who would become his muse, alter ego, and later, his wife.

On View

Modern Art, Gallery 396

Artist

Salvador Dalí

Title

Surrealist Object Functioning Symbolically

Origin

Spain

Date

1931–1973

Medium

Shoe, black marble, white marble, photographs, clay, hair, glass, wax, wood, yellow metal, mixed media

Dimensions

48.7 × 28 × 10.2 cm (19 1/8 × 11 × 4 in.)

Credit Line

Through prior gift of Mrs. Gilbert W. Chapman

Reference Number

2011.262

Copyright

© Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, 2018

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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