Salvador Dalí with a hoop, 1907 [Eulàlia Bas Dalí Archive]
Discover its history
Dalí’s most beloved toy
In 1910, the notary of Figueres, Salvador Dalí, and his wife, Felipa Domènech, Domènech, went to Paris where they bought the toy that would become the favourite of their children: Salvador, 6 years old, who was nicknamed Vadoret, and Anna Maria, 2 years old.
Felipa Domènech Ferres and Salvador Dalí Cusí, parents of Salvador and Anna Maria Dalí, on their wedding day [Felip Domènech Archive]
La Rambla boulevard in Figueres, 1915. In the centre, Monturiol Street, where Salvador Dalí was born [Josep Maria Joan Rosa Archive]
In the French capital, they bought a teddy bear made by the German company Steiff as a souvenir. Founded in 1880 by Margarete Steiff, it is a high quality toy company that is still active today.
Eiffel Tower, 1910 [Wikipedia commons]
Plaza de la Palmera, 1913. In the centre, the house that the Dalí family moved to in 1912 and where Salvador has his first studio. [Josep Maria Joan Rosa Archive]
From the moment it came home, the teddy bear was included in the games the Dalí siblings’ played and they thought of it as one of the family. They sat it on a small chair, dressed and sometimes wearing a hat, accompanying the family’s daily life, even during mealtimes.
Anna Maria and Salvador Dalí with the bear, 1926. Photograph by Joan Xirau taken in the studio of the painter in Figueres [Joguet Museum Archive of Catalunya-Figueres].
Federico García Lorca, 1914 [Wikipedia commons].
In 1925, Salvador Dalí invited Federico García Lorca, a friend of his from the students’ residence in Madrid, to get to know Figueres and the Empordà region.
As Anna Maria explained in her memoirs, “Federico also adopted Osito as a mascot because he immediately realised that the toy was involved in nearly all our games and jokes.”
“One day, very seriously, he asked me: “What's it called?” And I answered: “Osito”. Because of its great resemblance with the playwright Eduardo Marquina he said: “They must be relatives”. Federico christened him “Don Osito Marquina”
"As it was always with us, it appears in some photographs from that time. Federico often hid it in the most unlikely places and they had lots of fun watching me search for it all over the place to no avail."
Anna Maria with Don Osito Marquina, 1926 [Antonina Rodrigo Archive].
Don Osito Marquina held a privileged place in Anna María and Salvador Dalí’s friendship with Federico García Lorca. The poet wrote it several letters and postcards.
Granada, autumn 1927
“GOODBYE ANA MARIA: THE BEAR HAS SENT A POSTCARD TELLING ME I DON’T KNOW WHAT ABOUT MARQUINA AND THAT YOU HAVE ALMOST FORGOTTEN ME BUT THAT HE CANNOT FORGET ME BECAUSE HE ADMIRES ME SO MUCH AND BECAUSE I HAVE TREATED HIM SO WELL.
IN A FEW DAYS’ TIME I WILL SEND HIM A CANE. PLEASE LET HIM KNOW.
Say hello brother the fool (you know?) Ya know?
Regards to your father and best wishes and affection from your friend for you
Write me and tell me what your brother paints.
Send me the photos! Don't you want?
I will answer Don Osito Marquina very soon.
He's cute and supercute.”
Possibly Don Osito Marquina’s most exciting adventure was the trip from Figueres to Cadaqués with Federico García Lorca, at the beginning of 1927. The poet received the first copy of his book Canciones 1921-1924 in Figueres and decided to go to Cadaqués to show it to Anna Maria and play a trick on her. Just before arriving at the Dalí’s house, he put the teddy bear on the back seat of the taxi, so that it looked like the toy had travelled alone. Excitedly waiting for García Lorca, Anna Maria was surprised when she saw her beloved teddy bear.
Es Llané and the Dali’s house from the sea, 1915 [Josep Maria Joan Rosa Archive].
“This little teddy bear, which conserves the fingerprints of Anna Maria and of two international artists from the 20th century on its soft little body, having survived its owners’ childhood, has crossed over the threshold of its time and this happy circumstance means that today we can admire it in the Toy Museum of Catalonia in Figueres”.