Philippe Halsman

Dalí Atomicus

Philippe Halsman (1906 – 1979) was a renowned photo-portraitist, gaining his popularity in France. Some of his sitters included Salvador Dalí, Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, and Audrey Hepburn. His collaboration with Dalí spanned 37 years, producing numerous surrealist style photographs and a book titled Dalí’s Moustache.

Dalí Atomicus was made with Dalí in 1948 in reference to Dalí’s artwork titled Leda Atomica of the same era. The photograph, along with the artwork, explore the theme of suspension with objects appearing in mid-air.

The original painting of Leda Atomica is housed at The Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres, Spain. Featuring a nude image of Dalí’s wife Gala, the artwork also depicts suspended books, an egg, and a set square. The painting appears in the background of the photograph Dalí Atomicus on the right side, along with suspended furniture, flying cats, and thrown water. It is said that nearly 30 attempts were made to capture the image to achieve the desired arrangement.