Hi everyone! This week I wanted to talk about Salvador Dalí and his avant-garde Christmas Cards. To begin with Salvador Dalí was modern artist of Spanish background; his art style was surrealist. As a result, he was a very talented artist who challenged the art norms of the time by his surrealist style.
In 1959, Dalí was commissioned to create Christmas Cards for Hallmark. Dali was eventually dropped from the commission since his artwork was considered to be too “avant-garde” (openculture.com).
These are some of the cards created that were rejected:
In this card, we see the three Kings riding on camels and following the star that led them to Christ. What stands out, for me, in this card is the unique structure and design of the star. Even though the star is only in the right hand corner of the card, it consumes and dominates the art piece, which emphasizes the story of the three Kings.
This next card is meant to represent a Christmas tree. Dali takes a unique perspective on the tree by creating the tree root and branches from butterflies. This is literally an original idea that Dalí created because it has rarely, if ever, been seen in the creation of Christmas trees. However, this card’s depiction of the tree is very vague. I’m assuming that it is a Christmas tree, but there are no real hints that suggest it is.
The next work revolves around the birth of Jesus. Dalí included two figures here that look like they are playing music to Christ and Mary. It’s unclear if these are meant to be real people or angels; it’s possible that because they are so undefined that they are meant to be spiritual beings, but Dali often played around with perspective in his artworks so there’s no real way to know.
This last card is a representation of the Nativity. Compared to the other cards, this is probably the most vague one. Even though we know that this is about the Nativity, the figures themselves are vague and undefined. Even the angel on the side of Joseph looks uncompleted. However, the way that Dali created this through his combination of line and color makes the work look complete. It’s great to see that with a few lines and color Dali was able to create such a beautiful art piece.
In addition, I do have to agree that these are seem slightly too avant-garde for what we commonly see in Christmas Cards, but that doesn’t mean that these cards aren’t beautiful. Not to mention that Hallmark had artists like Pablo Picasso, Paul Cezanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent Van Gogh, and Georgia O’Keeffe create for cards (openculture.com), and these artists sometimes had even more abstract elements than Dalí in their artworks.