FREE Click and Collect Service from gallery Interest Free credit > Home Approval & Virtual Appointments > Talk to an Art Consultant


Modern and Innovative – Surreal Sculptures of the 20th century


Dalí’s creative genius came to the fore in his surreal sculpture, much of which can be seen in public spaces all over the world. When these works began to appear on the art market in the first half of the 20th century, they were viewed as both contemporary and original in their aesthetic; yet they connect Dali with the very roots of art history. They were created using a traditional artistic process known colloquially as the lost wax method. Dating back to the third millennium BC, this method is still used by many leading contemporary sculptors, including several in the Whitewall portfolio.
This captivating process begins with a maquette (or model) created by the sculptor from wax or clay, and covered with layers of plaster in order to make a mold. This is a complex and meticulous process as it is designed to capture every detail; only complete accuracy will preserve the realism of the original maquette. This durable shell is resistant to high temperatures and pressure, where it is placed in a furnace. Here, the wax melts away, leaving a hollow space – hence the term ‘lost wax’. When the hard shell cools down, molten bronze metal is poured into the cavity that is left by the lost wax. This then solidifies the plaster which can be chipped away or sandblasted to reveal an authentic bronze replica of the original maquette. Occasionally, a sculptor will decide to give the bronze a coloured surface known as a patina – another painstaking and highly-skilled process in which the sculpture is brushed with chemicals before being subjected to extreme heat causing a reaction which changes the colour and texture, as desired by the artist. 
Whitewall Galleries is proud to feature a strong portfolio of work from sculptors using the traditional lost wax method to in the casting of their foundry bronzes.