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


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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