PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Dallas December 2022

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Page 43 of 99

T w wo artists separated by three centuries arrive this season in Dallas, and the conversation is riveting. "Dalí/ Vermeer: A Dialogue" at SMU's Meadows Museum marks a significant moment in art history. The exhibition represents the first time the two canvases — one by an icon of Surrealism, the other by a master of the golden age of Dutch painting — come together. Salvador Dalí's The Image Disappears, 1938, and Johannes Vermeer's Woman in Blue Reading a Letter, circa 1663, carry on a remarkable tête-à-tête across 275 years. The dialogue makes Vermeer's enigmatic portrait look hypnotically modern, while Dalí's response to the unidentified 17th-century femme of the burgher class signals both gravitas and a bit of wizardry. Viewers should look for Dali's homage to another painter of his homeland. Hint: You'll need to decipher the visage of Spanish Baroque master Diego Velázquez subliminally embedded within Dalí's composition of a women reading a missive in The Image Disappears. The light in the Dalí canvas evokes an end-of-day mood, both brooding and Art-Historic Tête-à-Tête Vermeer + Dalí RIJKSMUSEUM, AMSTERDAM, ON LOAN FROM THE CITY OF AMSTERDAM LOANED BY THE FUNDACIÓ GALA-SALVADOR DALÍ; © 2022 SALVADOR DALÍ, FUNDACIÓ GALA-SALVADOR DALÍ, ARTISTS RIGHTS SOCIETY. From left: Johannes Vermeer's Woman in Blue Reading a Letter, circa 1663 Salvador Dalí's The Image Disappears, 1938 By Catherine D. Anspon foreboding, while the female subject's tentacle-like fingers appear to become one with the letter. Also disturbing in this Surreal canvas: The lumpish tablecloth assumes the configuration of a body that may or may not be alive. In contrast, Vermeer's setting is imbued with a soft morning light that illuminates the figure in her stylish blue jacket, lost in the contents of a letter, while a pearl necklace lies across the dining table. Behind the young lady in this comfortable bourgeois interior, a map hints at the expanding world of commerce brought about by this age of the Dutch merchant class. Their lively repartee, organized by Meadows director ad interim/curator Amanda W. Dotseth, challenges us to look closely in this rare, unprecedented viewing. The Vermeer is loaned from the City of Amsterdam, where it usually holds court at the Rijksmuseum; the Dalí is borrowed from the Fundació Gala- Salvador Dalí in Figueres, Spain, where it's displayed in the Teatro-Museo Dalí. Only Dallas audiences will experience these paintings side-by-side — a historic art pairing. "Dalí/Vermeer: A Dialogue," through January 15, 2023; 42

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