Gitano de Figueres (Gypsy from Figueres)

Salvador Dalí

Figueras, Girona, Spain, 1904 - 1989

Even before moving to Madrid, Salvador Dalí was drawn to the world of stallholders, often observing them from the balcony of his house in Figueres. In this period, immediately preceding his spell at the Residencia de Estudiantes, Dalí would paint the gypsy children, perhaps from the same fairs, that would visit his studio, depicting them in works such as the gouache entitled Dos gitanos (Two Gypsy Lads, c. 1921, The Dalí Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida). Whilst forming part of this imagery, along with other perspectives, Gitano de Figueres (Gypsy from Figueres) is also a fine example of the influence the Uruguayan Rafael Barradas exerted on the Daliesque style that flowed through the mid 1920s. Thus, the words written by Rafael Santos Torroella in his book Dalí residente are particularly illuminating: “[…] those and other analogous drawings by Barradas had a decisive influence on the painting and drawings of the resident Dalí, who between 1922–24 learned some of his main stylistic resources from them. In some of his later works they can still be discerned, for instance the abbreviation of certain lines and the lack of continuity or removal of facial features that paradoxically intensify the expressiveness of a face or attitude. This is what Barradas coined clownism, a subject he had theorised about at Ateneo de Madrid in a conference organised by his friends the ultraístas”.

Paloma Esteban Leal