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“Mae West Lips Sofa, the surrealist sofa-lips designed by Dalí and Edward James

Salvador Dalí not only painted but also created iconic objects such as the famous Lips Sofa.

Salvador Dalí was a Spanish painter, sculptor, set designer, fashionista, and writer considered one of the most important minds of the 20th century. He is credited for his contribution to Surrealism due to his paintings where he captured stunning dreamlike scenes. But something little known about Dalí is that he also created objects such as the iconic Lips Sofa called the “Mae West Lips Sofa,” inspired by the actress Mae West.

In fact, before making this piece, in 1935, he first captured the face of the diva in a portrait that also bore her name, but the curious thing is that his friend, the surrealist artist Edward James became so obsessed with the piece that he asked Dalí to design it.

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The painter agreed to James’ request for two main reasons. The first one was that his economic stability wasn’t the best and needed the money. The second reason is that he was working on the decoration of the Monkton House mansion; so, in 1936, he finally materialized the historic Lips Sofa, which was made of wood upholstered in deep red satin that paid honor to the actress’ iconic makeup.

At that time, Salvador Dalí only made five pieces of the “Mae West Lips Sofa;” he kept three of them at his home, and two were auctioned. The one in Edward James’ living room is said to have sold for 725,000 pounds.

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In 1972, Dalí decided to redesign it with new materials in collaboration with the architect Óscar Tusquets and that creation is the one that can be seen today in the room dedicated to the portrait of Mae West in the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres.

Over time, BD Barcelona mass-produced the new design and made it available for sale to the public, making it even more popular.

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Story originally published in Spanish in Cultura Colectiva

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