Always with his eye keenly trained to make a quick buck, Salvador Dali noted the sixties zeitgeist for all things astrological and produced a limited edition portfolio of 250 lithographs on woven paper depicting the signs of the zodiac. Though Dali claimed to be interested in science and its investigations into the atom—he was well-known to be superstitious to the point of paranoia. As a young man he kept a talisman to ward off evil spirits; he also had a phobia about showing his feet, which made buying new shoes difficult; plus he believed he was the “reincarnation” of his dead older brother—which was most probably caused by his having to wear his dead sibling’s clothes.
Dali claimed in an interview with Mike Wallace that the Spanish were a superstitious nation which explained his own personal superstitions. His one-time friend and film collaborator Luis Buñuel agreed with Dali about the Spanish, claiming in his autobiography My Last Breath that religious indoctrination had caused many Spaniards to live their lives under the terrible fear of retribution. It has been claimed that towards the end of Dali’s life he became even more superstitious—only agreeing to meet visitors in a darkened room or communicating with people through a closed door.
Dali would return to the zodiac as a money-making source in the late 1960s and again in the 1970s. These works are primarily simple, direct and illustrative—other than a Dalinian lobster replacing a crab for sign of Cancer—though there is little doubt over the skill and talent of the artist who produced them.