Christies has unveiled a Salvador Dalí gouache titled Bouche mystérieuse apparaissant dans le dos de ma nourrice, which translates to “Mysterious mouth appearing in the back of my nurse” as a highlight in its October 6 modern and contemporary evening sale. The work is estimated at $1.2-1.8 million.
The work is from a set of two gouaches Dalí painted on magazine covers in 1941 while completing the text for his semi-autobiographical book La vie secrète. The present work was reproduced in the book. The pair of works each depict the Spanish artist as a child with his caretaker on an open beach. Dalí used a magazine photograph of an actresses’s face to appear as an illusion emerging from the back of the central figure. Unlike its counterpart L’Adolescence, the present work features an arch framing the image. “With its double-image, it stands as a key example of the fantastical, surreal world he conjured in his art,” said Jessie Fertig, Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art, Head of Evening Sale, in a statement.
L’Adolescene sold at Christie’s in November 2018 from the collection sale of the Scheringa Museum of Realist Art in the Netherlands for $1.5 million. It doubled its pre-sale estimate of $700,000. Notably, that work was stolen from the museum in 2009 and was recovered in 2016. The present work last sold at Sotheby’s in 1991, where it was acquired by the present owner. Prior to that it came from a Beverly Hills-based private collection.