Beginning in the 1940s, Hallmark commissioned renowned artists to create Christmas cards for the company. One of those artists was Salvador Dali. It was a bold move for Hallmark.
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Dali made modern art popular and accessible. He’d painted the Christmas-themed interactive ‘Double Dalí’ cover for Vogue magazine’s December 1946 issue. So Hallmark contracted him to create cards in 1948. His images of a headless angel, a glowing but featureless baby Jesus, and three wise men atop snarling camels did not sell. In 1959 they hired him for a second time, a commission for which Dali requested “$15,000 in cash in advance for 10 greeting card designs, with no suggestions from Hallmark for the subject or medium, no deadline and no royalties.” The results (half of which he dashed off in the bathroom of his New York hotel room within an hour of signing the contract) were too racy, avant garde and perverted for Hallmark. They produced just two of the Dalí cards, a nativity scene and a depiction of the Madonna and Child – neither of which sold well. Hallmark swiftly dropped Dalí’s cards from their product line.
Dali had better luck with the pharmaceutical laboratory Hoechst Ibérica in Barcelona, who produced Dali -designed Christmas cards to send to their clients for several years. See Dali’s Christmas cards for both companies at Flashbak. -via Nag on the Lake