Hall’s mission was noble: Sharing artistic masterpieces with average Americans. “So, through the ‘unsophisticated art’ of greeting cards, the world’s greatest masters were shown to millions of people who might otherwise not have been exposed to them,” Hall wrote in his autobiography. By 1959, Dali had agreed to join the fold, with several stipulations. He asked for $15,000 in cash in advance for 10 greeting card designs, with no suggestions from Hallmark for the subject or medium, no deadline and no royalties.
Dali submitted 10 images to Hallmark, mostly Surrealist renditions of the Christmas tree and the Holy Family. While the images are striking and beautiful, they show that Surrealism and Christmas cards are strange bedfellows. Some of the images are vaguely unsettling – for example, this headless angel playing a lute:
Hallmark felt that only two of the 10 designs might have public appeal. The images below, "The Nativity" and "Madonna and Child," were put into production.
Article by Ana Swanson
Ana Swanson writes for Know More and Wonkblog.