“A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one who inspires others.” – Salvador Dalí
Even Salvador Dalí, the iconic prominent Spanish surrealist artist famous for striking and bizarre pieces of work, had a soft spot for the festive period.
As the famed artists once said: “Every morning when I wake up, I experience an exquisite joy —the joy of being Salvador Dalí— and I ask myself in rapture: What wonderful things is this Salvador Dalí going to accomplish today?” Well that task was to try and become mainstream commercial for one Hallmark, one of the biggest card companies on the planet.
Dalí’s artistic talent and craftsmanship knew no bounds. Whether he tried his hand at painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, writing, film or even, at times, jewellery, the artist continued to thrive in his creativity. It may come as a surprise, however, to learn that the highly imaginative, extrovert and eccentric artists found significant commercial success with his own range of Christmas cards.
Dalí took to the task of designing a series of nineteen Christmas cards between 1958 and 1976 for the Barcelona-based company Hoechst Iberica, a project that wanted to put a surrealist spin on a longstanding tradition.
Such was the unprecedented success, leading American card company, Hallmark, attempted to get a slice of the pie and paid Dalí $15,000 (around $120,000 today) in 1960, in order to push his style to a worldwide audience.
However, according to Rebecca M. Bender, the assistant Professor of Spanish Language and Literature, the series flopped in the States as a “surrealist take on Christmas proved a bit too avant-garde for the average greeting card buyer.”
Despite his unprecedented error of judgement, Dalí would not have taken to the downturn in sales to heart, as he famously once stated: “Mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature. Never try to correct them. On the contrary: rationalise them, understand them thoroughly. After that, it will be possible for you to sublimate them.”