|The Chemist of Ampurdan in Search of Absolutely Nothing" (1936)|
|Detail from "soft construction with boiled beans (premonition of civil war)"|
|Salvador Dali's "soft construction with boiled beans (premonition of civil war)" (1936)|
b) The Chemist of Ampurdan in Search of Absolutely Nothing" (1936)
Dali married the vast plain of Emparda near Figueras with an image culled from a scientific journal, in the form of the man standing with his foot upon a rock, on the left. Dali took this figure from a magazine illustration showin a man who might possibly be the Austrian Physician, Victor Eisenmenger (1864-1932) - working a heart massage machine with his foot. With typically freewheeling associationism, in a 1934 essay entitled "The New Colours of Spectral Sex-Appeal" Dali connected this man with a Figueres pharmacist of his youth, whom he then linked to the chemist's mathematician son, whom he subsequently associated through the name of the street in which the mathematician had lived to the name of a Catalan physicist and inventor of the word's first combustion submarine, Narcisco Monturial (1819-1885). According to the title of this painting, however, Dali simply gave us the Figueras chemist, a Mr Deulofeu .
The titles inform us that the chemist is "In Seach of Absolutely Nothing'. Clearly this man was equally Dali's intention in the painting: he simply wanted to depict a lovely stretch of landscape without having to search for anything , just like the "Chemist" he introduced pictorially to lend scale and a slight touch of animation to the proceedings. In the mid-distance a solitary individual may also be the same man. He too establishes scale.
Something of this landscape, plus "the Chemist", are to be seen in the Soft Construction with Boiled Beans - Premonition of a Civil War also painted in 1936. (Dali by Eric Shanes)
|The Chemist of Ampurdan in Search of Absolutely Nothing (detail)|