For Christmas 1960, Hallmark commissioned Salvador Dalí to design some holiday greeting cards. It was an initiative led by Hallmark founder Joyce Clyde Hall to show the work of great artists to people who might not otherwise see it.
Dali asked for $15,000 in cash in advance for 10 card designs, specifying that he receive no input from Hallmark on subject or medium, no deadline, and no royalties. His designs included “Surrealist renditions of the Christmas tree and the Holy Family,” as well as a headless angel playing a lute, and the three wise men atop some wild-looking camels.
Hallmark only produced two of the designs, a nativity scene and a depiction of the Madonna and Child. Even those relatively tame images didn’t go over well, and negative public response soon convinced Hallmark to drop Dalí’s cards from their product line.