about the book

In 1982, the author, Eduard Fornes curated the exhibition “Dalí and His Books: Dalí, the Writer and Dalí, the Illustrator” held in Barcelona and introduced the public to the lesser-known aspects of Salvador Dalí’s career and creative spirit. More than 20 years later, his extraordinary illustrations and extensive bibliography have been gathered to create “Dalí – Illustrator.”

No other publication has so thoroughly categorized the illustrative and literary works of Surrealist artist Dalí. The personal relationship with Dalí of Fornes, distinguished publishing house Les Heures Claires, the Albaretto family, Dr. A. Reynolds Morse and other figures related to the artist, have all come together to provide the definitive source on Dalí’s illustrative career. The late Dr. Morse considered the project to be “the definitive book on Dalí as Illustrator and nobody can publish a better or more complete one.”

Text, documents and illustrations are compiled alongside Fornes’ fascinating personal anecdotes to give colorful and historically important insights into the enigma that was Dalí. The book also presents an updated prints catalog raisonne of the “Chants de Maldoror,” “The Divine Comedy,” the Sacra Biblia and 18 graphic work editions. This source is a must-have for collectors, galleries, auctions houses, appraisers and academics seeking a broader view of the history behind Dalí’s illustrations. The book covers such topics as:


Dalí once said, “Don’t you know that I was born to be a writer?” Studying Dalí as a writer is both important and mandatory for understanding the artist. His education and love of reading left a lasting impact, leading Dalí to prolifically write for magazines and eventually publish great titles such as “The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí” and his novel, “Hidden Faces.” In “Dalí – Illustrator,” this little-known dimension of Dalí and how it impacted Catalan and Spanish literature is explored.


Dalí’s unique interpretations of mythological and religious texts and novels led to the creation of beautiful imagery. “Dalí – Illustrator” thoroughly examines and presents historical documentation related to the imagery of Dalí’s major illustrated projects, including:


Les Chants de Maldoror Illustration FO 12b from the reduced plate.

Les Chants de Maldoror Illustration FO 12b from the reduced plate.

The poetic novel “Les Chants de Maldoror” by Comte de Lautreamont is made up of six cantos. The book does not have a traditional plot, as its narrative is surrealistic and non-linear. The book follows the character of Maldoror, who embraces imagination over reality and denounces morality and decency.

The book was a major influence on Surrealism, including Dalí himself, who cited the novel as a source of inspiration. In 1934 Dalí illustrated the new edition of the novel, creating one of his most significant series of illustrations.


Locust and Grasshopper from Sacra Biblia

Locust and Grasshopper from Sacra Biblia

Dr. Giuseppe Albaretto, a devout Catholic and good friend of Dalí, commissioned the artist in 1963 to create illustrations inspired by the Bible. Albaretto hoped the project would lead Dalí back to God through his studying the Bible for the project.

From 1963 to 1964, Dalí created 105 watercolors based on passages from the Old and New Testament which were interpreted into lithographs by the famous publishing house, Rizzoli. Along with lithographs released as individual sheets and portfolios, complete Sacred Bible sets were issued, comprised of five volumes bound in leather and containing the text of the Bible along with the 105 lithographs after Dalí’s original paintings.


The Fallen Angel Illustration by Dali

The Fallen Angel from The Divine Comedy

In the 1950s, the Italian government contracted Dalí to illustrate “The Divine Comedy” by Dante, Italy’s most famous poet. However, the government canceled the contract after major disputes over whether a Spanish painter should portray an Italian masterpiece.

Nonetheless, Dalí was enthralled and deeply immersed in the project and offered it to French publisher Joseph Foret. Between 1951 and 1960, Dalí created 100 watercolors to depict Dante as he journeyed through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise. In 1959, Les Heures Claires undertook and completed the project, which ranks amongst the artist’s most important projects and amongst the finest interpretations of literary masterpieces ever created.