Surrealist gems unearthed: Salvador Dali's unpublished diary up for auction today

Story highlights

  • Previously unpublished diary of Salvador Dali goes on sale in Paris
  • Including original sketches, observations and impressions
  • Penned during a key period in the artist's career

(CNN)Inside the mind of Salvador Dali must have been a strange place to be. We saw snapshots in his artwork; raging ego warping the world to his will. How much more intimate, however, to dive into the pages of his diary.

On April 26, Sotheby's in Paris is set to auction a previously unpublished autograph diary from the master of Surrealism, complete with numerous original drawings, notes and art reviews.
    The scribblings from the subconscious extraordinaire are rare access indeed. Penned in black, blue and red ink, his miniscule handwriting details thoughts both lofty and mundane, from impressions on art to lists of expenses. Barely legible, Dali's notes wrap around nudes, horses and other obscure doodles -- there's even room for what looks like a crude penis.
    Among what has been deciphered is a page of writing devoted to "cadavres exquis", the address of filmmaker and friend of Surrealists Rene Clair and the name of Corti, a depository of the Surrealists' publications.

    'Persistence of Memory'

    The book, currently owned by Bibliotheque R. & B. L., is believed to date from 1930-1935 and Sotheby's estimates it will sell for between $45,000-$56,000 (€40,000-50,000) in an auction in partnership with Binoche and Giquello.
    Salvador Dali negotiated fame and controversy throughout his prolific career.
    In this period Dali created perhaps his most famous work, "The Persistence of Memory", became acquainted with the works of Sigmund Freud and married his lover Gala -- previously the wife of poet Paul Eluard.
    He also attracted controversy. Displeased with the face of Lenin appearing in his 1933 work "The Enigma of William Tell", Dali's fellow Surrealists attempted to deface the work, put him on trial and expelled him from their meetings.
    The diary sits among a variety of historic objects from Surrealism and Dadaism to go on sale. Writers Aragon, Breton and Tzara and artists Kandinsky, Picasso, Ernst and Tanguy all feature in first editions belonging to Eluard, original drawings and rare photography books including "Champs delicieux" containing 12 of Man Ray's rayographs -- the latter believed to worth in the region of $135,000-$169,000 (€120,000-€150,000).
    The auction will take place in the Galerie Charpentier on Rue Faubourg Saint-Honore, opposite the Elysee Palace on April 26-27 from 13:30 BST.