Salvador Dalí Illustrates Alice in Wonderland, 1969
What the Mad Hatter has to do with one of the most inspired collaborations in Western culture.
By Maria Popova
UPDATE: At long last, a restored modern edition of this lost treasure. Also: the best illustrations from 150 years of Alice in Wonderland
Last week, we marveled at Leonard Weisgard’s stunning illustrations for the first color edition of Alice in Wonderland, circa 1949. But it turns out they might not be the most culturally intriguing. Exactly two decades later, a collaboration of epic proportion took place as the Lewis Carroll classic was illustrated by none other than Salvador Dalí (May 11, 1904–January 23, 1989). (And let’s not forget what a soft spot I have for obscure children’s illustration by famous artists.)
Published by New York’s Maecenas Press-Random House in 1969 and distributed as their book of the month, the volume went on to become one of the most sought-after Dalí suites of all time. It contains 12 heliogravures — one for each chapter of the book and an original signed etching in four colors as the frontispiece — all of which the fine folks at the William Bennett Gallery have kindly digitized for your gasping pleasure:
As you might expect, the book isn’t exactly easy to acquire — Amazon currently spots just a single copy, handsomely priced at $12,900, and there’s even a video tutorial on what to look for when you hunt for this treasure:
But the collaboration brought together two of the most exceptional creators of Western culture, both ticklers or curiosity and architects of the imagination, and who can really put a price tag on that? Besides, if this baby can command $4.3 million, what’s $13K for a Dalí?
Published November 15, 2011