Salvador Dalí: Les Chants de Maldoror
Piedmont Arts, Martinsville, Va.

Between 1933 and 1934, Salvador Dalí created 44 illustrations for Les Chants de Maldoror, a fantastical 1869 text written by Isidore Ducasse, better known by his pen name, the Comte de Lautréamont. Lautréamont’s book had nearly vanished into obscurity when it was rediscovered in the 1920s by the French Surrealists, who championed its rebellious spirit and bizarre prose—elements Dalí complemented with an arsenal of personal visions drawn from his creative subconscious. Celebrating the 2024 Centennial Anniversary of the founding of the Surrealist movement, and in partnership with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts—which recently acquired the complete set of etchings that the artist made for the original 1934 edition—this exhibition presents Dalí’s astonishing Maldoror prints with researched didactic materials by W&L students, as well as Surrealist catalogs and ephemera from the collection of Dr. Elliott King, Associate Professor of Art History at W&L.  

The exhibition is co-curated by Professor King and Dr. Michael R. Taylor, Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Art and Education at the VMFA. This exhibition was organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Please see VMFA Collection to view the prints featured in this exhibition as well as other works by Salvador Dalí in VMFA’s collection. 

More information can be found at 

IMAGE: Plate (facing page 96) from Les Chants de Maldoror (The Songs of Maldoror), 1934, Salvador Dalí (Spanish, 1904–1989), Etching with drypoint in black ink on Vélin d’Arches paper with full margins and remarques. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Endowment, 2018.421.16