Vermeer’s Woman in Blue Reading a Letter (c. 1663) will appear side by side with Dalí’s reinterpretation of the painting, titled The Image Disappears (1938). On view from October 16, 2022, through January 15, 2023, the exhibition represents a unique opportunity for viewers to contemplate these two works in tandem, thanks to loans from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí in Figueres, Spain, which displays Dalí’s painting in the Teatro-Museo Dalí.
Dalí first became familiar with Vermeer as a youth through the black-and-white images in a small book he owned featuring the Dutch artist’s work. Dalí used these diminutive monochromatic images to make copies of Vermeer’s paintings in his own style, long before he was able to travel to Paris and Brussels to see them in person. The Surrealist visual language Dalí developed over his career incorporated myriad references to Vermeer, including quotations of recognizable figures, fashions, and postures from the Dutch painter’s oeuvre. Dalí admired Vermeer’s precise technique, use of light, and ambiguous subject matter, all qualities evident in Woman in Blue Reading a Letter.