Salvador Dali and Gala had a reputation for loving money in an excessive way. So much so that André Bretón, the father of surrealism, coined for the painter the qualification of Avida Dollars (thirsty for money), altering the order of the letters of his name, to indicate his excessive interest in the commercialization of his works. The couple never thought, to be known, to dock banks. Although, now that 30 years have passed since his death, the artist is the most multi-million dollar theft in the history of television; the eight robbers of the series The paper house -Which assaulted the National Currency Factory to print 2,400 million euros during 11 days of imprisonment- do so protected by a mask with the appearance, mustache and protruding eyes of the surrealist painter.
This mask, icon of the series along with the red monkey that the robbers wear and even the group of hostages during the assault, worries the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation, created by the painter himself in 1983 with the aim of promoting, protecting and defending his legacy and image. That is why he has put his legal services to work to control their use. "We are in the process of regularizing the uses of the right of image of Salvador Dalí," they say laconically from this entity.
The series of Álex Pina produced by Atresmedia In collaboration with Vancouver Media for Antena 3, it premiered in May 2017 and had a second season. Then it was acquired by Netflix that, after editing it – it cut the length of the chapters and increased its number – distributed it all over the world, and it became the most common non-English speaking fiction in the history of the platform, which also reported it awards like the International Emmy of 2018, in the drama category, and become a cult series in unsuspected places on the planet. A success that is sure to continue in 2019, after the new hit of the band, which will return to get mono and mask in the third season, which rolls since November Netflix, after acquiring the franchise of the series.
But the Dalí Foundation also wants to control the robbers with the face of dalís that devastate sales at carnivals and Halloween parties and are used by famous soccer players, such as Neymar, to celebrate his birthday on social networks. And, more difficult, the real robbers who assault banks in cities such as Santiago de Chile or Buenos Aires hidden behind the mask of the painter, simulating the characters of the series. Since the foundation of Figueres (Girona), although they recall that "it is assigned the exclusive management by the Spanish State of the intangible rights derived from the work and the person of Salvador Dalí", they emphasize that "it is not so just an economic issue. " Therefore, they continue, "Any person wishing to exercise or exploit any of these rights must have the prior authorization of the foundation. And if the foundation is aware that these rights have been violated, an attempt is made to redirect the situation, demanding that unauthorized uses be regularized ", without wanting to add more details so as not to" condition the steps initiated by the legal services ". Since the foundation they also assure that now that The paper house Is in the hands of Netflix "It's all a little more complex."
"Vancouver Media presented a model of a mask and red jumpsuits that the fiction director liked," said Atresmedia sources, who say that the Dalí Foundation has not sent them any requirements to regulate the use of the mask and refer to the producer of the series, after ensuring that "the mask is a design that reminds Salvador Dalí, but a mustache can be worn by anyone, even if Dalí popularized it".
From Vancouver, meanwhile, explained that, "as the series has an aesthetic of the world of comics," it was raised that the robbers wearing masks and shuffled two options: "Don Quixote, for its universality and his madness, and Dalí , which was imposed because it was a character more iconic and much more modern than the one devised by Cervantes. It was a decision of the creators backed by the art team of the producer. Then, an artisan was commissioned to make an expressly caricature for the series and asked if we had to ask for permission, but our legal team recommended that it was not necessary because it was a caricature. " Something in which Netflix spokespersons agree, that after remarking that they can not "give details of the new season", they limit themselves to repeat that "the decision to use Dalí was from the creators" with the support of the legal department. "It's a caricature for the series."
This Wednesday marks the 30th anniversary of Dalí's death on January 23, 1989. Three decades in which the painter has managed to survive and not only because in July 2017 he was unearthed by a judge to carry out DNA tests on his remains, following the complaint filed by Pilar Abel, who claimed to be his daughter. Also, for the successful figures that guarantee its survival: the two most visited exhibitions of the Pompidou in Paris in 40 years have been those carried out by Dalí and his painting, in 1979 and 2012; above those dedicated to Matisse (1993), Kandinsky (2009) and Jeff Koons (2014). The same thing happens to the Reina Sofía Museum, where the Figueres painter's exhibition of 2013 exceeded (with 730,000 people) the one dedicated in 2017 to the Guernica of Picasso (680,000) and, even, to the most visited in the history of the Prado on El Bosco (almost 600,000). In 2018, the Dalí Museums – the Teatre Museu de Figueres, the house of Port Lligat and the Púbol castle – were, with 1.3 million, the third most visited in Spain, after the Reina Sofía and the Prado.
David against Goliath
Sources close to the production highlight that the success of The paper house It has to do with the fact that "in the end, the series illustrates the victory of David against Goliath and that has made that in countries like Saudi Arabia, Turkey and France or also in Latin America and Africa the mask has been used as an icon for to claim social rights and to fight against political and economic powers ". "The series has allowed the painter to get to know places on the planet that would otherwise have been complicated. Is the best marketing for Dalí all over the world, "they add.
Caricature or not, the truth is that during the series are several times in which the painter is mentioned. In the 12th minute of the first chapter, when the robbers go by truck to the National Factory of Currency and Stamp to assault it, it is when the masks are first seen. At that moment, one of them takes it off and asks: "Who chose the mask? Because it is not scary, what is scary are the zombies and the dead." And another continues: "With a gun in your hand I assure you that a madman is more afraid than a skeleton." And he insists: "Who is the east payo of the mustache?". "Dalí, a very good Spanish painter," answers a fourth. "What gives a fear of balls are the puppets of kids like Goofy, Pluto and the Mickey Mouse, because the weapons and the kids never come together," the previous one ends.