Salvador Dalí

faces in desert

c1969
watercolour on paper
Inventory number 2050
faces in the desert is likely to belong to Dalí’s illustrations for the publication of folk lore stories, Tales from the One Thousand and One Nights. This assemblage is based on The Arabian Nights (or The One Thousand and One Nights), a collection of medieval Middle Eastern and South Asian tales. 

The introduction to the Penguin Edition of The Arabian Nights reads:
‘The Arabian Nights is a vast storytelling ocean in which the readers can lose themselves. One story, like a wave, is absorbed into the one that follows. The drift of the narrative tide carries us … to strange places, and further from home, the stranger those places are.’

The stories tell of monsters, witches, sultans, princesses, beasts, and birds. They are all set in erotic and magical melodies; perfectly suited to Dalí’s interests. 

Dalí painted 100 watercolours for inclusion in publication. Some of the artworks are enhanced with ink or charcoal. 

faces in the desert is exquisite in its detail. Look closely. How many faces can you see and count?