When Dali exclaimed in the winter of 1971 that "We will do some Collaborations!" I'll admit, I did not know what he had in mind.
Before I got any actually artistic tasks Dali had me do errands. Fetching magazines, books, doing research, paints from Pearl Paint downtown NYC, and of course, collecting whatever he had forgotten at a number of locations. More often than not, this would be his cane. Dali would often put his cane down when out and completely forget about it. He would arm me with a hand written note, an example of which is above in the Dali Collection book...."Please, Moi cane to Luis". In places where someone realized that this was the great Dali's cane more often than not it would be gone...maybe 50% of the time I returned with the cane.
The first task I got with actual connections to Dali's paintings was to clean his brushes. While this may seem like a menial task to most, it, like most things connected to Dali was of the utmost of seriousness. Dali would have me clean, and clean and clean again the brushes he had been using. His first test of how thorough a job I did would be to smell them...this was often enough to send them back as I had not made them pristine or angelic enough for him to use them the next time. When Dali wanted to really test me, he would actually put the brush in his mouth and taste if any of the cleaning fluids remained. Often enough cleaning the brushes would require 6 or 7 iterations to reach Dali's satisfaction.
This all changed when one day upon leaving the St Regis after working with Dali I passed a shop which carried Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap. I had never seen or heard of it before, but was immediately excited as it came in a Lavender scent. At this point having read, several Dali books, I knew of his love of Jasmine flowers, and had seen several pictures of Dali with a Jasmine behind his ear. Somehow I thought Lavender would be close enough to Jasmine to please the master. I bought and used the Lavender soap on the brushes, and the very first time Dali extended the brushes to his nose to smell he looked at me with huge bulging eyes, and a whimsical smile, "You Know Dali," he exclaimed, and from then on, rarely if ever tested my brush cleaning.
Back to The Dali Chronicle
Dali balancing cane on his Head...maybe he should have always kept it there
Dali with Jasmine