Salvador Dali’s Playboy Photo Shoot


The great surrealist artist’s work for the men’s magazine is every bit as wild as you would expect.

There’s a long and impressive history of creative artists working with adult magazines to create erotic photographic art – and we’ve covered some already on The Reprobate. But possibly the most impressive collision of minds came in 1973 when surrealist master Salvador Dali was commissioned by Playboy to create a photo spread that combined the aesthetics of the magazine with his own work. Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner was a fan of Dali, and own some of his work. Dali, of course, never hid the fact that he was primarily interested in money, and that was, by his own admission, his reason behind accepting this assignment. But that doesn’t affect the quality of the work that resulted.

Dali, photographer Pompeo Posar, several models and assorted assistants all headed to Cadaqués in Spain, close to Dali’s home, to produce the shoot. Dali sketched out his ideas, and a giant egg and huge snake were created as props. The photos then used collage techniques to combine the photos of the props and the naked girls with additional imagery to create work that is very much in the Dali style.

The 69-year-old master ran events expertly by all accounts, and the shoot was a local sensation – not because of the naked girls running around, but because Dali was such an icon. He was the centre of attention with locals and people who travelled down to try to get a glimpse of the maestro in action. The final images appeared in the December 1974 edition of the magazine.

Curiously, Dali exhibitions seem to overlook this particular collaboration – Playboy is, it seems, just too much of a difficult subject for curators to deal with. But this is up there with his finest work and deserves to be seen.

Included here are the sketches used to create the initial ideas, some behind-the-scenes images and, of course, the final works.

Click all images to enlarge.

The Sketches:


Behind the scenes:

The final images:

The magazine:

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