Pin It
dali

A Salvador Dalí lobster phone is looking for a buyer

An imposed temporary export ban hopes to keep some of the Surrealist artist’s iconic work in the UK

Salvador Dalí’s “Lobster Telephone (White Aphrodisiac)” could be lost from the country unless a UK buyer comes forward to buy it. But with an RRP of £853,047 (plus VAT of £29,000), it’s an even bigger phone bill than the time you went to Tulum and forgot to turn data roaming off.

Michael Ellis, the Arts Minister, has placed a temporary export ban on the work, to allow UK collectors the opportunity to purchase the work. The Guardian reported Ellis’ comments, “Dalí was one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. This iconic work was created in the UK, and I want it to remain here. It is important that we keep world-class art in this country and I hope a buyer can be found to save it for the nation.”

It’s one of a series of 11 lobster phones commissioned in 1938 by Edward James, the English poet, visionary patron, and close friend to some of the most significant surrealist artists of the time. James helped design the series of lobster telephones, which were inspired by a lobster shell landing on the phone while the pair were dining with friends. Each of the hand-painted telephones are unique and important pieces in the history of Surrealist art.

The decision regarding the export ban has been deferred until June 21 with the view of possibly extending the deadline until September 21. But if no buyer comes forward, this iconic part of Dali’s legacy could be pried from the Brits.

Recently, after 75 years in a private collection, a long-lost Dalí painting was rediscovered. It has been theorised that the painting was created in Dalí’s first months living in Spain in 1932. It’s set to go on display in New York. 

Subscribe to the Dazed newsletterGet the day on Dazed straight to your inbox