In 1954, world-renowned Surrealist painter Salvador Dali (1904–1989) and Philippe Halsman (1906–1979), one of the leading portrait photographers of his time, published Dali’s Mustache, a witty and often absurd verbal and photographic exchange between two friends. A scarce cult classic since its original publication, the book was recently reprinted by Flammarion in Paris. Now, organized by the Philippe Halsman Archive in association with Curatorial Assistance, a touring exhibition of Halsman’s original photographs for Dali’s Mustache is available for tour. The exhibition, which includes 32 works, demonstrates the inventiveness and humor that made Halsman one of the most successful celebrity photographers during and after the Second World War. Halsman photographed 101 Life magazine covers—more than any other photographer—and was regularly published in the world’s most popular magazines. Of his own work he once said, “My main goal in portraiture is neither composition, nor play of light, nor showing the subject in front of a meaningful background, nor creation of a new visual image . . . in order to be a portrait the photograph must capture the essence of its subject . . . The photographer probes for the innermost. The lens sees only the surface.”
NUMBER OF WORKS: 32
TOUR DATES: December 1995 - January 2002
PUBLICATION: Publication, Flammarion, 1994
CREDITS (all photos by Philippe Halsman)
May I ask you a few questions? Yes, but don't try to uncover my secret. (1953-54). Gelatin silver print. (Top)
Why do you wear a mustache? In order to pass unobserved. (1953-54). Gelatin silver print.
Isn't your mustache impractical--especially when you travel? No problem is too knotty for me. (1953-54). Gelatin silver print.
And how's business? (1953-54). Gelatin silver print.
Have you evolved a definitive style? No, I am completely mobile. (1953-54). Gelatin silver print.
Are you always so sure of yourself? Well, I have a few minor inner conflicts. (1953-54). Gelatin silver print.
What is your favorite perfume? The essence of Dali. (1953-54). Gelatin silver print.
Dali, what makes you tick? My hairspring, of course. (1953-54). Gelatin silver print.