MONTREAL — A massive painting by Salvador Dali created in 1944 as a backdrop for a ballet put on by New York’s Metropolitan Opera was recently found and displayed Monday in Montreal.
The eight by 15 meter piece was offered to circus master Daniele Finzi Pasca, who will use it in his next theatrical and acrobatic production, La Verita, which opens on January 17 in the Canadian metropolis.
The artwork depicts the Spanish surrealist painter’s vision of the 12th century legend of the adulterous love affair between the Cornish knight Tristan and the Irish princess Iseult (or Isolde).
Dali painted it while collaborating with choreographer Leonide Massine for the ballet “Mad Tristan,” inspired by Wagner’s opera “Tristan and Isolde.” He also designed the sets and costumes.
Art lovers will immediately recognize Dali’s style in the monumental stage curtain that shows a head in the form of a dandelion, a crutch standing on its own, cypresses sprouting from the nape of a neck, an egg in a deserted world and his famous ants.
After being discovered in the Met’s prop storage, it was sold and restored in 2009 to a European art collection, which has asked to remain anonymous.
After Montreal, both the canvas and La Verita’s puppeteers, contortionists, acrobats, dancers and singers will tour South America and Europe, notably France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland, said troupe spokesman Jean-Sebastien Rousseau.