Given Savador Dali’s usual posturing as a nut, it’s unexpected that he uttered this cogency:: “Drawing is the honesty of the art.” And he added, “There is no possibility of cheating. It is either good or bad.”
Thanks to two New York shows, I get to quote him when he wasn’t trying to sound like a madman.
The shows are Drawings by Surrealist Masters at Morgan Museum and the William Bennett Gallery’s effort to preserve in digital form Dali's illustrations for Alice in Wonderland - 12 prints for 12 chapters.
Such offering of drawings by Dali, who was far better known for his painting, enlightens.
Working at their drawing boards instead of their easels was the Surrealists’ way of freeing themselves for what they called “pure psychic automatism.” For that reason, you won’t see in Dali’s drawings any of his usually refined, photo-real technique that he used in his paintings. In his works on paper, he let it fly.
But, of course, Dali being Dali liked to upend http://www.examiner.com/article/was-dali-nuts- including his fellow Surrealists – by deviating from “psychic automatism” in his painting. Your typical Surrealist believed that visions of dreams even in paint shouldn’t look as real as Dali made them look. He painted so tightly, so fussily, that his evocation of dreams looks staged.
Dali outraged the Surrealist not only with his refusal to be confined to one style, but also with his lack of seriousness when it came to politics.
Orwell had a few words to say about Dali’s lack of interest in WWII. Faulting him for "scuttling off like a rat as soon as France is in danger,” he said, “When the European War approaches he has one preoccupation only: how to find a place which has good cookery and from which he can make a quick bolt if danger comes too near."
But as you can see in his Alice in Wonderland illustrations and in his “Two Exquisite Flowers” at Morgan Museum, when it comes to drawing, Dali's imagery looks far from staged.