Monday, 2 June 2014

Salvador Dali | Tarot in Art | King and Queen of Swords

I first fell under the spell of Salvador Dali via his magnificent Christ of St John which was bought (amidst great public hooha - petitions and irate letters to the newspapers) for Glasgow City Council's Kelvingrove Museum in the 1950s.

I regularly visit the museum to visit the quiet and contemplative little space they have created for the painting.

From there I was entranced by soft watches that melted like plasticine on a radiator and spindly-legged creatures that roamed fantastical landscapes.  And amidst the hurricane of clever visuals that appealed to children and art collectors alike, he created a set of Tarot cards.

And no, I don't own a copy...... *weeps sadly into her morning coffee*

......YET *flicks gaze sideways to make sure hubby isn't listening*
The deck was published when the artist was 80 years old - a tribute to his wife and muse, Gala .

I came across these two beauties which were sold at Christies in London back in 2008.  They had been bought from an anonymous seller five years earlier (also at Christies) and were now being sold by the Judith and Abraham Amar Foundation, in aid of charity.  

Dali's work is not always actually Dali's work, but this King and Queen have been authenticated by the late Robert Descharnes and his son Nicolas, both internationally acclaimed experts in Dali's work.

The two images are about A4 sized and are gouache and collage on paper.  With their butterfly motifs, these were both intended to be the images for his Tarot deck's King and Queen of Swords.  However, in the completed Tarot deck, the King has lost his butterfly motif and has been transformed into the King of Cups.

And their sale price?

Queen  £12,500
King £10,625

You're going to need more than a paper-round to finance your Tarot in Art addiction :-D

Ever purchased a bit of Tarot art from an artist that you love?


  1. Can't say I've ever purchased a piece of original artwork and don't really feel the need if a decent quality image is available to look at. We do have a limited edition Bob Carlos Clarke print (photography) but that's about it. If I had a stately home with acres of wall space and a barrowful or seven of cash, I might feel differently. That said, Will's framed art at the Conference a couple of years ago was mighty tempting because the frames were so exquisite.

    1. Those frames are beautiful, aren't they? He makes them himself. We were so lucky to be donated a painting (think that it was the original Woodward from the Wildwood) to auction off at one of the TABI Conferences in Birmingham. It went to a good home at a bargain rate! *envious face* :-D

  2. well, no, cuz I'd rather buy one of their decks than a piece of wall-stuff. I had the Aubrey Beardsley tarot, and I have one of Beth Seilonen's decks. But wait ! when does an artist become not an artist but a tarotist/ creator ??

    1. Tarot art is art. Tarot artists are artists. Some artists become Tarot artists without the slightest interest in Tarot. Some people take art that has no basis in Tarot and turn it into Tarot's alllllllll good! :-D

  3. I have a Moore/Fell Steampunk Tarot (the High Priestess) print, and a Shadowscapes (the World) print, both in my "office" :) However, can't imagine spending that much money on any kind of art, so I shall remain a very amateur collector!

    1. It's a maaaaasssive amount of money that these two images sold for, isn't it?! Buying prints is a perfectly legit way to procure the art that you luff!

    2. I too am a Salvador Dali fan............and I agree, prints are good! But these cards above are exquisite. I prefer the King of Swords to the King of simple yet so evocative of the collective symbolism. I do fall deeply into Dali's work. Thank you for this Alison. It has made my day............I shall carry these images in my head for sometime.

    3. Save up and treat yourself to the deck, Cat! And thank you for the kind words (((hug))) Ali x


Never mind what I think, what do YOU think? :-)

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