Salvador Dalí, Hommage a Klimt


etching on paper

Inventory number 718

Gustav Klimt (1862 – 1918) was an Austrian artist that is renowned for his use of colour and gold leaf. He was one of the founding members of the Vienna Succession art movement, which was formed in 1897 in objection to traditional art movements. Some of his paintings were criticised as being pornographic as he focussed on the female body, however he was celebrated for his golden period of artworks and achieved financial success.

Hommage a Klimt is part of a limited edition set of 300.

This etching is a tribute to the artist Gustav Klimt.  Salvador Dalí may have chosen this tribute because Klimt was criticised for his work as being pornographic.  It is hard to imagine now that Klimt’s images, like the famous painting The Kiss (1907 – 1908) was once deemed as pornographic. Like Klimt, Dalí was also fascinated in sexual relations and the human body. He often included his wife and muse Gala nude in his artworks. 

This artwork was produced when Dalí was in his 60’s. By this time, he had perfected many classical art techniques and developed his own style. His style came from the surrealist art movement and is based on the ideas of automatism (reworking an original artwork) as well the practice of freeing the subconscious mind by making art in a stream of consciousness. As a result, his artworks contain symbols that provoke ideas.

In this artwork some symbols to notice are the skull on the left, which represents death. Possibly the balance of life on the right side, with sperm and an egg indicating creation. At the bottom of the artwork, there is a knight with a sword riding a horse, representing strength. Crutches and bones holding up the woman, symbolise support.

There are many possible interpretations of this artwork and symbolism. Surrealism asks the viewer to see and decode images based on their own experience.