In the late 1940s, Hallmark began reproducing the paintings and designs of contemporary artists on their Christmas cards. Featuring art by Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin, Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cezanne and Georgia O’Keeffe to start.
In 1959, Salvador Dali agreed to participate in the Christmas card series, however, he had several rather interesting stipulations. Asking for $15,000 in cash in advance for 10 greeting card designs, with absolutely no suggestions from Hallmark for the subject or medium, and no deadline or royalties allowed.
Dali wound up submitting 10 images for Hallmark, which were mostly Surrealist renditions of the Christmas tree and the Holy Family. Hallmark was less than pleased, and felt that only two of the 10 designs might appeal to the public, “The Nativity” and “Madonna and Child” (see below).
Unfortunately Dali’s Christmas surrealism was a bit too much for the average greeting card buyer to process, and Hallmark ultimately pulled the cards from the racks. There are several hundred Dali Hallmark cards still in existence at this time, but now they have become rare collectors’ items.
Browse the gallery below to see Dali’s surreal take on Christmas!
Or a Christmas tree made of butterflies on a barren plane:
Or this scene of the three wise men, which is fairly serene except for an extremely dramatic camel:
"This, then, is the ultimate paradox of thought: to want to discover something that thought itself cannot think."- Soren Kierkegaard
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