Robert & Nicolas Descharnes confirmed the authenticity of this work in 2011.
creativity, Dalí is the quintessential Surrealist artist and undoubtedly one of the most celebrated avant-garde artists of the 20th Century. His work combines the real with the imaginary, exploring the objects placed in unlikely and seemingly nonsensical combinations to evoke the unconscious mind, discovering the world of dreams and what lies deep in the human subconscious.
Restaging the theme of the mel t ing clock on a grand, monumental scale, Le profil du temps brings one of the most entrancing images of Salvador Dalí into the thirddimension. Melting clocks first made their appearance in his 1931 painting, The Persistence of Memory, now housed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which would become an archetype of the Surrealist genre. From then on, the melting clocks became a significant reoccurring theme in the artist’s oeuvre. This pivotal surrealist painting brought Salvador Dalí
an enormous fame that shone throughout his artistic career and carries through on to the present day.
In his autobiography, the artist described the accidental genesis of that memorable image:
"We had topped off our meal with a very strong Camembert, and after everyone had gone I remained for a long time seated at the table meditating on the philosophic problems of the “super-soft” which the cheese presented to my mind. I got up and went into the studio, where I lit the light in order to cast a final glance, as is my habit, at the picture I was in the midst of painting. This picture represented a landscape near Port Lligat, whose rocks were lighted by a transparent and melancholy twilight; in the foreground an olive tree with its branches cut, and without leaves. I knew that the atmosphere which I had succeeded in creating with this landscape was to serve as a setting for some idea, for some surprising image, but I did not in the least know what it was going to be. I was about to turn out the light, when instantaneously I “saw” the solution, I saw two soft watches, one of them hanging lamentably on the branch of the olive tree" (S. Dalí, The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí, New York, 1942, p. 317).
Over three meters high, Le profil du temps is the manifestation of Dalí’s hallucination transported into the physical present, thereby creating a communal space that connects the great artist’s mind and the viewer‘s. It has been said that the work potentially speaks to Dali’s philosophical quest to question the nature of time and its interplay with mankind, drawing inspirations from Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. With his art, Dalí sought to parallel the scientist’s discovery, which overturned the absolute notions of a cosmic order at the beginning of the 20th Century (D. Ades, Dalí, The Centenary Retrospective, London, 2004, pp.148-151). Indeed, by reconciling the irreconcilable dualities of the hard and the soft, the static and the moving, the tangible and the intangible, Dalí conceived a work of art, a motif, that constantly inspires, enthuses and excites those in its presence. The clock takes the shape of a human profile, reminiscent of the long head seen in Dalí’s seminal work The Great Masturbator (1929, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía), a symbolic portrait of the artist himself. The realism combined with the dreamily quality of the monumental melting clock, amplified by the tension between the clock's frozen face and its ever-changing environment, invites the viewers to reflect on the ephemeral nature of mankind, while in the same breath considering man’s triumph over the forces of decay. By destabilising cultural norms and the usual state of an everyday object, Le profil du temps generates an alternative reality that allows the viewers an insight to a deeper state of mind.