"I attribute capital esthetic and moral values to food in general, and to spinach in particular..."
FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH, WITH MAGNIFICENT PRESENTATION INSCRIPTIONS, DRAWINGS, AND "PAPER SCULPTURE" BY DALI.
On the inscription and drawings:
Dali lavishly decorated the endpapers of this copy, writing in thick black marker (and taking up over half the page): "Pour MR Riskin / Hommage / Dali." Beneath his inscription, he dated it (1974) and drew what looks to be a large version of one of his spinning men. Dali scraped the paper at the base of one of the figure's arms to create something resembling a hand.
On the facing page, Dali created something even more unusual: He drew a bug, but molded and scraped the paper to create a three-dimensional exoskeleton for the creature. Finally, on the page facing the title page, Dali added another inscription: "with apologies for the translation / Dali / 1974".
"Les Diners de Gala, the opulent cookbook that [Dali] conceived and illustrated, sets out a surrealist gastro-aesthetics that is at once visceral and ascetic, Dionysian and Catholic... [It] showcases Dali's ornamentation of menus from such legendary restaurants as Maxim's and La Tour d'Argent and features the recipes of their chefs. Dali stages himself within the sumptuous culinary mise-en-scene... Les Diners de Gala moves between 'sado-masochistic pleasure', 'acute sybaritism', Rabelaisian scatology, religious ecstasy, and anaesthetic asceticism." (Richard Gough, On Cooking). With 136 recipes in 12 categories: exotic dishes; eggs & sea food; first course; meats; snails & frogs; fish & shell fish; game & poultry; pork; vegetables; aphrodisiacs; desserts; hors-d' oeuvre.
The book is stunningly illustrated throughout with surrealistic full-color images of food, figures, and wild scenes sprung from Dali's imagination.
Provenance: The recipient, Martin Riskin, was an influential member of the New York art scene, serving as the banquet director at the St. Regis Hotel during the 1960s and '70s (an appropriate association for this book), where he befriended Salvador Dalí and also held hospitality positions at The Plaza, The Pierre and The Waldorf-Astoria. He was culturally diverse, serving as a founder of the New York Youth Symphony, the Puccini Foundation and the World of Musicians, and as a board member of the American Symphony Orchestra. Through his activity in contemporary art circles he was friends with Miró and Chagall (among others) as well as Dalí.
Translated by Captain J. Peter Moore. New York: Felicie, 1973. Quarto, original cloth, original illustrated foil dust jacket. A few superficial scratches to dust jacket, otherwise fine.
One of the most interesting presentation copies of a Dali book we've handled.
Price: $9,500 .