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Animals Salvador Dali and the lobster

Published on April 5th, 2017 | by Zuzanna Stanska

Famous Lobsters In Art

Historically, lobsters weren’t a very common subject of artists’ interests. But they happened from time to time. Here we have gathered all the famous lobsters we could find in art:

Albrecht Dürer

Albrecht Durer, A lobster, 1495, Staatliche Museen, Berlin

Albrecht Dürer, A lobster, 1495, Staatliche Museen, Berlin

During his first Italian journey, young Albrecht Dürer showed his interest in all the unusual and exceptional features of nature documented plenty of weird animals. One example of this is the displayed pen drawing. The lobster is positioned to fill the entire page. This sheet is one of the studies which Dürer used as independent rather than concrete study material.

Eugene Delacroix

Eugene Delacroix, Still Life with Lobsters,1826-1827, Musée du Louvre, Paris

Eugene Delacroix, Still Life with Lobsters,1826-1827, Musée du Louvre, Paris

This painting was in a group that Delacroix sent to the Salon of 1827. It included also the Death of Sardanapalus as well as others from among his finest pictures. On 28 September 1827, Delacroix wrote to his friend Soulier: ‘I have finished the General’s animal picture, and I have dug up a rococo frame for it, which I have had regilded and which will do for it splendidly. It has already dazzled people at a gathering of amateurs, and I think it would be amusing to see it in the Salon.’

Delacroix painted this picture when he returned from England – and the influence of English painters can be seen here.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi

Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Lobster, XIX cent.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Lobster, XIX cent.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi was one of the last great masters of the Japanese ukiyo-e style of woodblock prints and painting. He was a member of the Utagawa school. The range of Kuniyoshi’s subjects included many genres: landscapes, beautiful women, Kabuki actors, cats, and mythical animals. Here the lobster is being attacked by a a bird (a hawk perhaps).

Lovis Corinth

Lovis Corinth, Still Life with Buddha-Lobsters and Oysters, 1916

Lovis Corinth, Still Life with Buddha-Lobsters and Oysters, 1916

Lovis Corinth was a German artist and writer whose work as a painter and printmaker was kind of a synthesis of impressionism and expressionism. He studied in Paris and Munich, joined the Berlin Secession group, later succeeding Max Liebermann as the group’s president. His works was naturalistic in approach and his use of color quite vibrant (as we can see looking at the lobster).

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso, Still life with cat and lobster, 1962

Pablo Picasso, Still life with cat and lobster, 1962, private collection

Picasso in 1960s was already 80 years old. In his last years, he created more than at any other comparable period of his life. He turned to creations of fantasy and comic invention – you must admit there is something funny in this painting (personally, I love how the fish is painted). With unabated vigor Picasso painted brilliant variations on the works of other masters, including Delacroix and Velázquez. The still life with cat and lobster copies the colors of Delacroix’s palette.

Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali, Lobster Telephone, 1936, Tate

Salvador Dali, Lobster Telephone, 1936, Tate

The Lobster Telephone is a classic example of a Surrealist object, which combines things that don’t match with each other. Dali believed that such objects could reveal the secret desires of the unconscious – for Dali, both lobsters and telephones had strong sexual connotations.
Salvador Dali and the lobster

Salvador Dali and the lobster, 1939

For the 1939 New York World’s Fair, Dalí created a multi-media experience entitled The Dream of Venus, which consisted in part of dressing live nude models in ‘costumes’ made of fresh seafood, an event photographed by Horst P. Horst and George Platt Lynes. A lobster was used by the artist to cover the female sexual organs of his models.

Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons, Lobster polychromed aluminum, coated steel chain 57 7/8 x 37 x 17 1/8 inches 147 x 94 x 43.5 cm plus variable chain height © Jeff Koons Edition of 3 plus AP 2003

Jeff Koons, Lobster polychromed aluminum, coated steel chain 57 7/8 x 37 x 17 1/8 inches 147 x 94 x 43.5 cm plus variable chain height © Jeff Koons Edition of 3 plus AP 2003

Koons’ lobster is an obvious reference to Dali. By creating a plastic pool toy he elevates a simple rubber thing to the art level. Lobster presents its viewer a familiarity and nostalgia, summoning childhood memories of summers spent by the pool. It also refers to the legacy of Duchamp. As Koons himself stated: “I’ve returned to the ready-made. I’ve returned to really enjoying thinking about Duchamp. The whole world seems to have opened itself up again to me, the dialogue of art”.


About the Author

Art Historian, huge fan of Giorgione or Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Founder and CEO of DailyArtDaily.com and DailyArt mobile app. But to be honest, her greatest accomplishment is being the owner of Pimpek the Cat.



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