Salvador Dali’s Figura de Perfil was the lead lot of Bonhams’ impressionist and modern art sale in London on March 2.
The subject of the painting is his sister, Ana Maria, who is depicted gazing out of a window.
This painting featured in Dali's first solo exhibition
It was painted in El Sortell, a village near the town of Cadaques in Spain where Dali spent many summer holidays during his childhood.
The canvas predates Dali’s first forays into surrealism by around four years, although it’s infused with some of the strangeness of this later work.
It was one of 17 pieces included in his first solo exhibition in Barcelona in 1925.
India Phillips, Bonhams’ head of impressionist and modern art, commented prior to the sale: “What makes this work so remarkable is its sheer rarity – only a handful of works from this period exist outside public collections.
“Dali was a very deliberate painter during the 1920s, choosing his subjects carefully and working in a meticulous fashion.
“This work was created at the very genesis of his leap into Surrealism. Laden with meaning and utterly enigmatic, it is one of the most beautiful works I have had the pleasure of handling.”
It sold for £1.8m ($2.2m), 50% more than its £1.2m ($1.4m) estimate.
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