you can now cop salvador dalí’s iconic lobster phone
The surrealist artist’s Mae West lips sofa is also on the auction block.
Two of Salvador Dalí's most iconic fixtures, the lobster phone and Mae West lips sofa, will be auctioned off at Christie's London on December 15. The two works are part of a massive 200-item collection up for grabs courtesy of late poet Edward James's foundation. James, who was a notable patron of the surrealist art movement, appeared in two René Magritte paintings and paid Dalí a monthly salary in exchange for his works during a period when the artist was low on income.
Lobsters were a recurring motif in Dalí's work — during a live installation at the 1939 New York World's Fair, he used the crustacean to cover the female genitalia of his nude models. "I do not understand why, when I ask for a grilled lobster in a restaurant, I am never served a cooked telephone," he wrote in his 1942 autobiography The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí, "I do not understand why champagne is always chilled and why on the other hand telephones, which are habitually so frightfully warm and disagreeably sticky to the touch, are not also put in silver buckets with crushed ice around them."
The sofa, on the other hand, modeled after actress West's famous pout, is said to be "hideously" uncomfortable. The Foundation retains an additional phone and two sofas. "We obviously need a lobster telephone, but do we really need two?" asked Alex Barron, chief executive of the James-endowed West Dean college, "That's just greedy, isn't it?"
The entire James collection is expected to net upwards of £2.5m, but you can cop the telephone and sofa for a cool £250,000 and £400,000, respectively. Other selections up for auction include a pair of "Champagne standard lamps" designed by Dalí, and Pavel Tchelitchew's 1933 painting The Concert.