It is the stuff of dreams: You are browsing through a thrift shop, searching for bargains and you inadvertently hit the mother lode — art by a world-famous artist whose works are bought and sold for thousands, if not millions. That’s what happened recently when a shopper at a thrift store in Kitty Hawk, N.C., found a piece by the internationally famous Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali. Shopper Wendy Hawkins saw an otherwise ignored piece of art buried with a bunch of other paintings sitting on the floor. It was a 1950s woodcut print by Dali that was part of a series of 100 illustrations depicting Dante’s “Divine Comedy” called “Purgatory Canto 32.” It shows a woman in blue standing next to a man in red.

Dali created a series of 100 watercolor paintings — one for each chapter of Dante’s book — that were reproduced as wood engravings. Each of those required about 35 separate blocks to complete the image. Secondhand art was usually priced between $10 and $50 at the thrift store. The authenticated woodcut sold for $1,200. Proceeds from the sale of the print will go to a nonprofit that supports a shelter for runaway teens and victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.

salvador dali print purgatory canto 32 found in thrift store

Photo: NPR.org

One response to “Work by Salvador Dali Found in Thrift Store”

  1. zvicki says:

    Well, I’m feeling super lucky and a bit anxious after reading this then. About 15 years ago I attended an auction in a smaller town, but good buyers from both the Detroit area and Canada often attended these, as the town wasn’t too far in any direction. One night there I spotted, what I think is a signed Dali print. It is only an 8×10, and I think is crayon and or watercolor/ink on paper, Dali signature in pencil.
    It was late, about 11:00 pm and most of the “big” buyers had left. The auctioneer would allow us to put up whatever we were interested in, on a big table before he closed for the night. I of course, put the Dali up there. It came up near the end (lucky for me) and only one other person bid against me, I got if for about 15-20 bucks. After it sold, the auctioneer was put out, saying “that should of been sold a long time ago, blah blah” lol, was his rules, and I was a regular buyer, pfft!
    So, I gave it to my youngest son who appreciates art, especially the 20th C. Artists. We’ve never had it authenticated. I’m not sure how to do that exactly?

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