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'The Enigma of Desire' was the first work sold by the Goemans Gallery during Dali's first one-man exhibition there in 1929. Just as he was painting this canvas, Dali found a religious chromolighograph on which he wrote: “Sometimes I spit with pleasure on my mother's portrait, had a quite psychoanalytical explanation, since one can perfectly well love one's mother and still dream that one spits upon her, and even more, in many religious, expectoration is a sign of veneration; now go and try to make people understand that!“ In the baroque appendage that elongates the visage, we recognize the geological structures of the rocks of the region near Cape Creus eroded by the wind, mixed with the fantastic architecture of Antonio Gaudi, “That gothic Mediterranean,“ whose work Dali had seen as a child in Barcelona.
The second part of the title, My Mother, My Mother, My Mother, was inspired by one of Tristan Tzara's poems, “The Great Lament of My Darkness,“ which appeared in 1917. Dali consider The Enigma of Desire to be one of his ten most important paintings. The little group on the left depicts Dali himself embracing his father, with a fish, a grasshopper, a dagger, and a lion's head