When Salvador Dalí painted this portrait, he was an unruly fine arts student, indifferent to the manifesto of Surrealism published that same year in Paris. The son of a notary, he got himself expelled from what is now the Academia de San Fernando in Madrid. His early work echoes the postwar “return to order” movement in its classicism: Dalí revered the Neoclassicism of Ingres. The sitter, Maria Carbona, was a young, cultured woman from Figueras, the artist’s birthplace in Catalonia. The artist painted her portrait on the back of a fragment of a still life he executed in 1924, which was later cut in four. This painting predates Dalí’s time as a major figure in the Surrealist movement, which he officially joined in 1929.