Salvador Dalí

Hans Christian Andersen tales –

The Will-o’-the-Wisps Are in Town

1966
lithograph on paper
Inventory number 1170
Dutch author Hans Christian Andersen (1805 – 1875) is renowned for publishing more than 150 literary fairy tales. In 1966 Salvador Dalí created 10 illustrations to celebrate some of the tales.

Published in 1865, The Will-o’-the-Wisps Are in Town, communicates a tale of memory and the importance of sharing stories. A man, who once knew many stories, fails to recall them. He says that his stories no longer knocked on the door of remembrance. Dalí expressed his own interpretation of this tale. He created a visual representation by rendering a door that is larger than the doorway, always obstructing part of the doorway even when open. An umbrella also floats in the background. This imagery could be in reference to the idea that memories drift from our consciousness as time passes, which is inevitable as we age and approach death.