This month, publisher Taschen is following up on its successful re-publication of Salvador Dalí‘s Les Dîners de Gala with his long out-of-print companion volume The Wines of Gala.
The Wines of Gala may be the lesser known of Dalí‘s two epicurean books, but it is still a sumptuously illustrated and highly collectible Surrealist treatise on the pleasures of viticulture. Originally published in French under the title Les Vins de Gala et du Divin (The Wines of Gala and the Divine) in 1977, this Dalínian introduction to wine was (surprisingly) not a success on its first release. As Dalí contributed no text, it was seen by many as a money-grabbing exercise by the aging Surrealist. The original text was written by Max Gérard (“Ten Divine Dalí Wines”) and Louis Orizet (“Ten Gala Wines”) with an introductory poem by Baron Philippe de Rothschild (“La Cave”).
However, Dalí was involved in the direction of content, the selection of wines and their organization “according to the sensations they create in our very depths.” These are grouped together under chapter headings like “Wines of Frivolity,” “Wines of Sensuality,” “Wines of Light,” and “Wines of the Impossible.” The idea was based on Dalí‘s belief that “A real connoisseur does not drink wine but tastes of its secrets.”
The Wines of Gala contains over 140 of Dalí‘s illustrations—including “appropriated artworks,” collages, and paintings like “The Sacrament of the Last Supper” (1955). The book was dedicated to Dalí‘s longtime wife and muse, Gala, and the volume applies “Dalí’s famously intense obsession with sexuality and desire to food and wine, two sensual topics he’d rarely addressed in his work.”
Though intended as an introduction to viticulture, the section on “Ten Gala Wines” was considered somewhat revolutionary upon its publication and in many ways it still is today. This section ordered wines by “sensation” or “emotional resonance” rather than by the “prescriptive limits of traditional viticulture.” This opened a whole new way to appreciate wine rather than the way used by most traditional wine critics.
It’s a beautiful book, and who knew Art could be a reason to get merry? Click on the pictures below for a larger image.
More pages from Dalí ‘s ‘The Wines of Gala,’ after the jump…