'Dalí and Gainsbourg put on big masks because they were very shy,' says author

Writer and journalist Pere Francesch explores the relationship between the celebrated artists

Journalist Pere Francesch, author of 'Gainsbourg i Dalí, moi non plus' (by Pau Cortina)
Journalist Pere Francesch, author of 'Gainsbourg i Dalí, moi non plus' (by Pau Cortina) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

September 18, 2019 07:47 PM

Salvador Dalí and Serge Gainsbourg are perhaps two of the most iconic artists of the 20th century, with equally remarkable personalities. After writing 'Gainsbourg i Dalí, moi non plus’ (Edicions Cal·lígrafs), journalist and author Pere Francesch believes he has unmasked the men hiding behind these carefully crafted outward personas. With his book, he explores the links between both artists and the influence they had on each other.

As for why he chose to name his book, 'Gainsbourg i Dalí, moi non plus’, Francesch says it is both clearly a reference to Gainsburg’s hit song as well as to a Dalí quote 17 years prior to the song: “Dalí famously said ‘Picasso is a communist, moi non plus’ (me neither).”

Even though Gainsbourg denied being influenced by Dalí, according to Francesch “he did know of [the quote]. This shows they actually did influence each other, as he would later admit.”

The writer also highlights the similarities between the musician and the painter, pointing out that their art was ripe with provocative “scatalogical, erotic and sexual references.” 

Both men were, however, very shy and “put on big masks.” Francesch says that “they adopted alter egos - the problem is that later on in life, neither one could remove them. They were absorbed by the characters they had created.”

Although he started writing the book as a fan, purely out of admiration for Gainsbourg, Francesch noticed that his views changed as his research progressed. “As I wrote on, I also removed my own mask, the mask of a fan, to be able to humanize them. In the end, the image I offer is broader and shows both their bright and dark sides.”