Table Solaire
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Arty Fact

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While this table isn’t solar-powered in the same way that Elon Musk might design a table, it’s still pretty interesting.

It’s pretty much guaranteed that any painting by Dalí will be at least mildly interesting. Despite the trademark outlandishness of his paintings, you’ll see some echoes of the familiar wherever you look. Dalí’s life inspired his art, and by the time he was fully coming into his own, his art inspired his life as well. Dalí lifted the tiles at the bottom of this painting from the house that he designed for himself in Port Lligat, Spain. The house is a weird and wonderful architectural personification of the artist himself, similar to how Mondrian’s studio looked exactly like jumping into his geometric paintings.

Obsessed with the twisted realities that appeared in dreams and altered states, the Surrealists were interested in tapping into their own memories and childhoods. Dalí was no exception. The figure on the right looks like a child’s silhouette, and other elements of the painting suggest his own experience. Perhaps Dalí was reaching into his past, searching for subject matter in his memory bank, what we might call “traumas” today. Dalí was definitely ahead of his time. As for the altered states, the glasses evenly placed along the table, each nestled with a spoon of its own, may be referring to the ritual of drinking absinthe. Like the dudes in Van Gogh’s The Drinkers , Dalí was known to enjoy getting a little freaky on absinthe.

There’s not much in this barren landscape, which recalls Giorgio de Chirico’s barren backgrounds, save for a table on a set of tiles plopped in the middle of the desert. The table actually comes from a small café in the coastal Spanish fishing town of Cadaqués, just east of Dalí’s hometown of Figueras. Dalí frequented the café as an adult, and since the Surrealists loved socializing and hashing out their crazy ideas together, this might have been formative place for him. As he worked on this painting, he was also building a house for himself in nearby Port Lligat. Dalí’s interest in interior design shines here, as the tiles he painted were similar to those he was simultaneously laying in his kitchen. Talk about a surreal home makeover.

The painting seems to be a love letter to Dalí’s various life experiences in the town of Port Lligat. The work’s blinding sun and atmosphere pay homage to the amazing light that shone there, known to be Dalí’s favorite feature of the town. He even set up a series of mirrors in the bedroom that he shared with his wife and muse Gala to ensure that the morning’s first rays lit up their faces each day. Who knew that Dalí was as romantic as he was eccentric?



  1. Barcelona Lowdown. “Cadaqués and Salvador Dali’s House in Portlligat.” July 19, 2019. Accessed August 28, 2019.
  2. Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation. “Salvador Dali House - Portlligat History.” House Salvador Dali in Portlligat. Accessed August 28, 2019.
  3. Hodson, Michael. “The View from Salvador Dali’s Home.” Conde Nast Traveler. April17, 2013. Accessed August 28, 2019.
  4. Museum Boijmans. “Table solaire.” Collection. Accessed August 28, 2019.