The late Robert Descharnes confirmed the authenticity of this work.
Allégorie de soie, a gouache maquette for a poster for the 1950 International Silk Convention, demonstrates the important role Salvador Dalí played in the fashion world. By the 1950s Dalí's work had a considerable commercial value, especially in the United States, where the artist had lived from 1940 to 1948. Although he had returned to Europe by 1950, the year of this commission, his popularity and success still boomed in America; the poster featured on the cover of the November 1950 issue of the American Fabrics magazine.
From early on in his childhood, Dalí had been conscious of his appearance and henceforth developed into an artist-dandy seeking to communicate messages as much through the organization of his appearances as by his paintings. His well-known image of the insane genius became an essential quality of his marketability. Ever since the 1930s, when Dalí was in Paris, in the company of Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiapparelli, he had been greatly influenced by the contemporary world of fashion, and in turn, he too influenced that world. His collaborations with magazines such as Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and Flair are endless. Dalí's profound influence pervaded the salons and society gatherings of the late 1930s in Paris and eventually the wider world of fashion, which adopted many of his ideas in watered down versions in the years to follow.
In Allégoire de soie, Dalí presents us with an allegory, one of his favorite concepts from his Surrealist days. Even in this very specific commission, the image of silk refers to something else; it does not represent silk as a fabric, but instead he personalizes it into a woman, epitomizing the luxurious elegance associated with silk.