Dalí for Argillet | Secret Poems of Apollinaire

Dali is particularly surreal in this set, based on love letters written by......

 Dali’s initial plan, with Argillet, was to illustrate a number of songs by singer/songwriter Georges Brassens.  We can still see this in Woman with Guitar, wich was meant to  show Brassen using his music to conjure a woman into being.  However, when the performer’s manager became difficult to deal with, and it was decided instead that Dali would create etchings to accompany a volume of erotic love poems – Poèmes secrets à Madeleine – by surrealist writer Guillaume Apollinaire [1880-1918].  It was Apollinaire who originally invented the term Surrealism, and many of the etchings are quite surreal – in one, a chest of drawers devours a guitar.  In another a snail balances on a woman’s stomach.  “Les Tranchées,” and La Guerre 1914-1918, are references to Apollinaire having written the poems to his lover, while a soldier at the front during World War I.  She was Madeleine Pagès, an Algerian schoolteacher who the poet met, in Paris, in 1915, shortly before he left to fight in the war.
Apollinaire, considered one of the foremost French poets of the first half of the 20th century, died in 1918, of pneumonia while still weakened from a head injury he’d received in battle 2 years before.

Documentation & Edition Details

SECRET POEMS BY APOLLINAIRE / Poèmes secrets d’Apollinaire
Released by Argillet, Paris.  1967.
A portfolio of 10 original etchings reworked in drypoint

Image size: 12.8 by 9.5 inches.
Editions: 50 on Japanese paper; 185 on Arches; An edition of 145 numbered in Roman; a final edition of 145, on Japanese paper; proofs.  
Each etching is signed by Dali in the same area as the artist’s blindstamp.
Each is numbered at lower left.
8 small etchings of nudes – Petit Nus d’Apollinaire- were included in most sets, and were issued separately as well in an edition of 95.
Printed by Robbe.
Reference: Michler/Lopsinger 189-206.

All images and text shown on this site are copyright © Sam Heller Fine Art.  Ltd., and may not be reproduced or distributed for any commercial purpose without express written permission under penalty of law. All rights reserved. Images displayed on this site of etchings by Salvador Dali are copyright Argillet/GSDF for imagery; and Sam Heller Fine Art, Ltd. for the actual digitally-framed, accuracy-adjusted, sample photographs displayed.