Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove - Objects
Object Name: Sofa
Mae West's Lips
Producer: Green & Abbott; Salvador Dali; Edward James
Place Produced: London, England, United Kingdom, Europe
Date Produced: c1938
Materials: Felt and wood
Measurements: Whole: 920 x 2130 x 80 mm
ID Number: DA300594
Category: Decorative Art
Location: Brighton Museum & Art Gallery - on display in the 20th Century Art & Design Gallery
Description: The Mae West's Lips sofa was designed by Salvador Dali with Edward James around 1938, and made by Green & Abbott. It has a wooden carcase, upholstered in felted, woven wool fabric.
Dali had first painted The Face of Mae West (Usable as a Surrealist Apartment), in1934. From May 1936, Edward James, Dali's patron and close friend at the time, collaborated with him on designing 'paranoiac-critical' interiors, furniture and objects, incongruously assembled, such as the Lobster Telephone. James was instrumental in having Mae West's lips made as a sofa, which has become a 20th-century icon. In the 1960s it was re-interpreted as the lips of Marilyn Monroe.
Purchased by Brighton Museum & Art Gallery from the Edward James Foundation in 1983 with the support of Charles Robertson and the V&A Purchase Grant Fund
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