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Tuna Fishing - Salvadore Dali

Updated on April 6, 2013

An interpretation

A Palette of Green A surrealist (psychic) impression of a work

At 62 years, using the basic primary color green, Dali began, “Tuna Fishing” with the portrait of himself as a young man in the bottom forefront of this small oil. He was in a pensive mood, continuing to struggle with an emotional issue, without resolution, that was now causing physical disease. He considered himself a “golden child” as the splash of color suggests around his face and neckline; but was plagued by jealousy. Being at the zenith of his career he was accomplished but in a wishfully thoughtful mood; seeing himself as he was in his prime. The work describes a mental or physical illness that may have been brewing that he had not shared with anyone. The nude figure to his right represents the area of his body where the discomfort had settled. The malaise had settled along his spine and down the sciatic nerve. Perhaps he had decided to battle it alone. The scene depicts his vulnerability and discomfort with his temporal body and psychological discomfort as a result of disease caused by some interior malice; either one he carries or one applied to him. He did not know where he was going with the work after he did the profile sketch; but his subconscious mind decided how he was going to fight the cause of his emotional problem to continue life.

The green tuna, according to Carl Jung and holistic healers, represents fame and prosperity, the object of his dis-ease. Perhaps his peer group or audience had spread defamation or had questioned his skills; perhaps he wrestled with luck and resources; perhaps he anguished with secret jealousies and his ego. This combination; his emotional dis-ease, had caused physical symptoms in his declining years and he wished to hunt it down and kill it so he could live. With the basic color group, yellow, blue and green; the palette of jealousy; he slays the fish to deal with the discomfort with ease, as he did in his strongest years. He has not lost his edge. Jealous or not, Dali resolves to remain the “golden child.”

He has found no redemption from his jealousy in “Tuna Fishing;” just more resolution.


Tuna Fishing ~ 9.93 x 13.25 ~ Oil

Salvador Dali


Foundation Paul Ricard lie de Bandol

Dedicated to: Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier ~ 19th Century battlefield artist


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