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Salvador Dali ~ “Telephones & War

In addition to melting watches, Dali frequently painted telephones or sardines (or both) on plates, as in The Sublime Moment and Imperial VioletsThe telephone was a symbol of the age, of modernity: “A telephone is talking to a man,” as Auden put it.

In the era of appeasement and Munich, as the Second World War approached, the telephone must have seemed an emblem of menace; symbolic of important, pivotal communications between Adolf Hitler and figures like Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister. One example is his great canvas, The Enigma of Hitler, painted in 1937. In Mountain Lake, Dali’s foreboding picture shows the telephone line leading to nowhere but a dead end.  Fragile communications had apparently failed over the German annexation of the Sudetenland in September 1938 and war seemed inevitable. <source>

  1. The Sublime Moment, 1938
  2. The Enigma of Hitler, 1937
  3. Telephone in a Dish With Three Grilled Sardines, 1939
  4. Landscape with Telephones on a Plate, 1938
  5. Mountain Lake, 1938
  6. Imperial Violets, 1938