The famed Spanish Surrealist and provider of 85 percent of college freshman dorm room art, Salvador Dalí, was known for painting a vast panoply of subjects, from his early realistic still lifes (lives?) to his best-known Surrealist period, full of soft, melting clocks and great masturbators. Less well known is that he is also one of the art world’s most renowned painters of 1972 Datsun 610 Wagons.
Dalí was never one to do things modestly, and by the 1960s his lifestyle had grown to pretty lavish proportions, with some estimating a burn rate of $500,000 a month. As a result, Dalí was more than willing to take on high-paying commercial work, and had no problem exploiting his fame and talent for very useful cash.
One such partnership was with Datsun, who, somewhat improbably, sought out Dalí to paint a portrait of their new little wagon, the 610. Dalí stuck with tried-and-true, very on-brand imagery, and pretty much just shoved a very nicely rendered 610 into it:
One could almost think Dalí literally just painted the Datsun on some older work he had laying around, seeing as how little it is really integrated into the overall composition. That said, I kind of like it, because I kind of like both surrealism and old Datsuns, so what’s not to like?
Dalí also appeared in commercials for the 610:
It’s interesting that Datsun seems to have just requested Dalí advertise the 610 wagon and not the whole 610 lineup, which included a sedan and coupé as well, all derived from the Japanese market Bluebird 610.
Dalí was even given an orange 610 wagon for his work, which can still be seen at the Castell Gala Museum in Pubol, Catalonia, which was the former home of Gala, Dalí’s longtime partner.
I wonder how many people made that final decision to go for the Datsun over a Toyota or VW Squareback or Pinto because, hey, if it’s good enough for Salvador Dalí, it has to be a good car, right?