IN MADRID – Salvador Dalí wanted to enslave races he considered inferior and establish a sadistic world religion, according to a newly discovered letter, which was written as fascism was on the rise in Europe.
The Spanish surrealist proposed the enslavement of “all the coloured races” as part of the new world order, which would be “anti-Christian and materialistic and based on the progress of science”.
“The domination or submission to slavery of all the coloured races” could be possible, Dali said, “if all the whites united fanatically”.
In the letter, which was written in 1935, Dalí also insisted on the need for human sacrifices but did not specify what these should be.
Dalí’s opinions were written at a time when Europe was threatened by the rise of fascism in Germany and Italy as Hitler and Mussolini assumed power and prepared to re-arm for war.
Dalí wrote the letter to André Breton, the French writer and co-founder of the Surrealist art movement.
He said there was a need for “new hierarchies and more brutal and stricter than ever before” to “annihilate” Christianity.
“I believe that we surrealists are finally turning into priests,” Dali added.
He appeared to be scornful of Christianity’s altruism, adding: “We don’t want happiness for all men, rather the happiness of some to the detriment of others”.
The letter, which was published in El País newspaper on Thursday, was recently discovered in the digitalised personal library of Sebastian Gasch, an art critic who died in Barcelona in 1982. It had been verified by another historian who specialises in the work of Dalí, William Jeffett.
The artist’s fascination with Hitler and fascism are well known but until now there has never been such an explicit expression of its values written by Dalí.
In other comments, made at the time, Dali admitted that he found Hitler “exciting”. He also said he found Nazism “hyper original” because he thought it was an example of surrealist government, with the swastika as a surrealist symbol.
The letter was part of the reason that he was permanently expelled from the Surrealist art movement in 1939. He had also professed admiration for lynchings in the United States.
During the long dictatorship of General Franco between 1939 and 1975, Dalí chose to stay living in Spain while many artists like his contemporary Pablo Picasso went into exile.
Many Spaniards admire his work but find his attitude towards the Franco regime difficult to accept. In his native Catalonia, there are few monuments to Dalí in Barcelona.
Sources from the Fundación Gala Salvador Dali, which guards the image of the artist who died in 1989, told the i: “These letters relate to the first attempt to expel from the surrealist movement.”
The museum, which shows off his work, is among the most popular in Spain after the Prado and Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid and the Guggenheim in Bilbao.
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