Salvador Dalí. Surrealist genius of limp clocks and moonlit deserts. Having commissioned Dalí to compose these photographic surrealities, we sent staff photographer Pompeo Posar to Dalí’s Mediterranean villa in the small Spanish village of Cadaqués.

Upon arriving, he was ushered to a poolside throne. Dalí rose, offered his hand and began yelling, “Butterfly! Butterfly!”

A bemused Posar returned the greeting and they became a loud duet, pumping clasped hands and shouting cheerfully, “Butterfly! Butterfly!” The shoot itself was both businesslike and bizarre. When Dalí emerged from his house, his gaggle of worshippers and protégés bowed, chanting, “Master! Master!” He acknowledged them with an imperial wave and got down to work.

Dalí set up each shot, based on his preliminary sketches, while issuing supervisory commands. The villagers congregated on the surrounding hilltops as word spread through the town. It was quite an event—for Cadaqués and for Playboy.

We asked Dalí what these compositions meant. He replied, “The meaning of my work is the motivation that is of the purest—money. What I did for Playboy is very good and your payment is equal to the task.” We think we got our money’s worth.

In these never-before-published photos, we see the master at work: directing models, sketching out the next shot and finding the perfect way to tether a beautiful woman to an egg, using a giant serpent.

Dalí’s rough sketches that were translated into the compositions.


To see more of Dali’s creations for Playboy, head over to Playboy+.