Salvador Dalí was a Spanish Surrealist artist working around the same time as René Magritte. Known for its bizarre imagery, one of Dali?’s most famous works is a painting of melting clocks. He also made bronze sculptures of the clocks. A few museums and auction houses have recently decided that some of the sculptures cannot be considered legitimate because it’s unclear whether Dalí was actually involved in their creation.
The controversy stems from the way bronze sculptures are cast. Bronze casting is a complicated process that can be completed only at a foundry. Most artists, like Dalí, hire foundries to cast their sculptures for them. In the casting process, the foundry makes a mold from the artist’s original sculpture. It can produce many bronze copies using that mold. Then the foundry is allowed to cast a limited number of works, called an edition size. Edition sizes vary and are set by the artist.
Late in his life, Dalí signed contracts allowing several foundries to produce his work. His business manager sold additional rights after the artist’s death in 1989. Today, 10 companies have the right to produce more than 100 different Dalí sculptures. They're still casting new ones today, but no one knows whether they are respecting the edition sizes that were set by the artist.
Some people argue that new casts of sculptures created 24 years after the artist died can’t be considered “real” Dalí sculptures. Others say the new castings are just as valuable as earlier castings of the same work.
What do you think? Should the questionable Dalí sculptures be considered authentic?