©Salvador Dali - The Chemist of Ampurden in Search of Absolutely Nothing, 1936

The Chemist of Ampurden in Search of Absolutely Nothing, 1936
The Chemist of Ampurden in Search of Absolutely Nothing,
1936 30x52cm oil/panel
Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany

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From Museum Folkwang, Essen:
The painting shows a landscape near Ampurdan, the antique Emporion. At first glance, the scenery does not appear unusual, if we were not troubled by the almost photo-realistic painting and its mysterious title. Dalí painted the strange figure of the well dressed man in the foreground using a newspaper photograph of the Austrian doctor Rudolf Eisenmenger, taken when he was presenting a heart massage device he had invented. However, the figure gains a new identity in memory of the pharmacist Alexander Deu Lofen, a friend of Dalí's, who lived in the painter's home town and who had written a book on the ›Mathematics of History‹. Like in many other of his works, Dalí goes beyond the limits of association in his placing the absurd in a veristic depiction, thus transforming it into a new reality which he called the paranoid process of thinking.
Having trained in the Madrid Academy, the artist got to know the Valori Plastici of the so-called Pittura Metafisica and the Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico in the middle of the 1920's through journals found there. In 1928/29 Dalí traveled to Paris, there meeting Picasso among others. He came under the influence of Juan Miró and maintained contacts with the group of Surrealists around André Breton.