Christie’s Shanghai Highlights Dali’s Triumphant Elephant

Salvador Dali, one of the most celebrated surrealist artists in the world, is best known for his quirky and whimsical art style. In the movie Love off the Cuff, the male protagonist once said, 'Every man should have a piece of Dali's artwork in his collection.' Wouldn’t it be nice if you can add Dali’s work into your collection? Here is an opportunity for you. Christie’s Shanghai to going to sell Dali’s Triumphant Elephant at its coming evening sale of ‘20th Century & Contemporary Art’. The lot is estimated at RMB2.8m to 4m (US$425,500 – $607,800).

Love off the Cuff

This piece is in typical Dali’s style with his signature elephant, a recurring image that often seen in Dali’s works. Inspired by Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s sculpture in Rome of an elephant carrying an obelisk, Dali gives the baroque masterpiece a distinctly Surrealist makeover. Symbolizing the future, Dali’s elephants are often depicted atop spider-like legs to emphasize the contrast between robustness and fragility.

The elephant is a recurring theme in Dali’s work.

Such strong contrast is also a trait of Dali’s work and there are different interpretations. Some people think the spider-like legs represent wealth and power, which are both perishable; while some believe the work shows two complete oppositions: past and future. But of course, these thoughts are all subjective and there is no right or wrong.

Other elements on the sculptures are also believed to carry certain meanings. The bejewelled saddle symbolizes wealth and the dawn of a new era is announced by a flying angel, trumpeting success and prosperity.


Salvador Dali’s Triumphant Elephant.1904-1989.

Auction house: Christie’s Shanghai
Sale: 20th Century & Contemporary Art (Evening Sale)
Sale date: 2017/9/24
Estimate: RMB 2,800,000 – 4,000,000 (US$425,500 – 607,800)