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The Genius. The Master. The Marvel. - Salvador Dalí‘s Unreal Dreams

By OGP Reporters / Members Contribute File Photos

Oh Good Party

The Teatro-Museo Dalí officially opened in 1974. The new building was formed from the ruins of the old and based on one of Dalí's designs, and is billed as the world's largest Surrealist structure, containing a series of spaces that form a single artistic object where each element is an inextricable part of the whole. The site is also known for housing the broadest range of work by the artist, from his earliest artistic experiences to works that he created during the last years of this life. Unfortunately, in the same year, Dalí dissolved his business relationship with manager Peter Moore. As a result, all rights to his collection were sold without his permission by other business managers and he lost much of his wealth. However, two wealthy American art collectors, A. Reynolds Morse and his wife, Eleanor, who had known Dalí since 1942, set up an organization called "Friends of Dalí" and a foundation to help boost the artist's finances. The organization also established the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Our favorite way to spend a free day is wandering through the galleries of a Museum, exploring the exhibitions and collections. Whether it’s right here at the working or when traveling, museum visits are always included in every collectors agenda. Most collectors have an obsessive drive to research, source, and capture the objet of their desire.


Many past year, collectors of OGP group visited many museums and studios, and explored just a fraction their huge permanent collection of art. Sometimes it can be difficult to differentiate between bad and great art, so we must listen to what people around we are saying. Personal friendships with advisors, artists, curators, collectors, dealers, and gallerists offer invaluable perspectives on contemporary collections for us, and insider information that others may not have access to. We enjoy supporting local art galleries wherever we are, but collecting for us has to be worth that love it for its long-term value. We’ve spent time getting to know the artist and his/her story.


The Salvador Dalí Museum is an art museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, United States, dedicated to the works of Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, Marquis of Dalí de Púbol (1904– 1989) (known professionally as Salvador Dalí). It houses the largest collection of Dalí's works outside Europe. It is located on the downtown St. Petersburg waterfront by 5th Avenue Southeast, Bay Shore Drive, and Dan Wheldon Way. On April 18, 2012, the AIA's Florida Chapter placed the building on its list of Florida Architecture: 100 Years. The Museum is a member of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and of the North American Reciprocal Museums program.


Referred to as the “Enigma”, the glass entryway is 75 feet tall and encompasses a spiral staircase. Just like Dalí‘s style, was highly imaginative, and also enjoyed indulging in unusual and grandiose behavior.


He said,“The fact that I myself, at the moment of painting, do not understand my own pictures, does not mean that these pictures have no meaning; on the contrary, their meaning is so profound, complex, coherent, and involuntary that it escapes the most simple analysis of logical intuition."


Just like William Shakespeare on literature, and Isaac Newton on Physics, Dali's impact on surrealism is tremendous. There is no denying that Salvador Dali is among the most versatile and prolific artists of the 20th century and the most famous Surrealist; but, there is also much conflict that revolves around him, and the work he did ——his eccentric manner and attention-grabbing public actions sometimes drew more attention than his artwork, to the dismay of those who held his work in high esteem, and to the irritation of his critics. Though chiefly remembered for his painterly output, in the course of his long career he successfully turned to sculpture, printmaking, fashion, advertising, writing, and, perhaps most famously, filmmaking in his collaborations with Luis Buñuel and Alfred Hitchcock. Dalí was renowned for his flamboyant personality and role of mischievous provocateur as much as for his undeniable technical virtuosity. In his early use of organic morphology, his work bears the stamp of fellow Spaniards Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró. His paintings also evince a fascination for Classical and Renaissance art, clearly visible through his hyper-realistic style and religious symbolism of his later work.


By showing us visual representations of his dreams and inner world laid bare, through exquisite draftsmanship and master painting techniques, Dalí opened a realm of possibilities for artists looking to inject the personal, the mysterious and the emotional into their work. In post-war New York, these concepts were incorporated and transformed by Abstract Expressionists who used Surrealist techniques of automatism to express the subconscious through art, only now through gesture and color.


The museum's collection includes 96 oil paintings, over 100 watercolors and drawings, 1,300 graphics, photographs, sculptures and objets d'art, and an extensive archival library. Permanent collection displays are periodically rotated, and several temporary shows are mounted each year. With the exception of the Dalí Theater-Museum created by Dalí himself in his home town of Figueres, Catalonia, St. Petersburg's Dalí Museum has the world's largest collections of Dalí's works. The museum is home to 7 of the 18 "masterwork" paintings by Dalí (including The Hallucinogenic Toreador and The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus), the most of any museum in the world.


Freudian theory underpins Dalí's attempts at forging a visual language capable of rendering his dreams and hallucinations. These account for some of the iconic and now ubiquitous images through which Dalí achieved tremendous fame during his lifetime and beyond. Obsessive themes of eroticism, death, and decay permeate Dalí's work, reflecting his familiarity with and synthesis of the psychoanalytical theories of his time. Drawing on blatantly autobiographical material and childhood memories, Dalí's work is rife with often ready-interpreted symbolism, ranging from fetishes and animal imagery to religious symbols. Dalí subscribed to Surrealist André Breton's theory of automatism, but ultimately opted for his own self-created system of tapping the unconscious termed "paranoiac critical", a state in which one could simulate delusion while maintaining one's sanity. Paradoxically defined by Dalí himself as a form of "irrational knowledge," this method was applied by his contemporaries, mostly Surrealists, to varied media, ranging from cinema to poetry to fashion.


In 1922 Dalí enrolled at the Special Painting, Sculpture and Engraving School of San Fernando in Madrid, where he lived at the Residencia de Estudiantes. Dalí fully came of age there and started to confidently inhabit his flamboyant and provocative persona. His eccentricity was notorious, and originally more renowned than his artwork. Artistically, he experimented with many different styles at the time (such as Impressionism, Pointillism, Futurism, Cubism, and Neo-Cubism), dabbling in whatever piqued his ravenous curiosity. He fell in with, and became close to, a group of leading artistic personalities that included filmmaker Luis Buñuel and poet Federico García Lorca. The residence itself was very progressive and exposed Dalí to the most important minds of the time such as Le Corbusier, Einstein, Calder and Stravinsky. Ultimately though, Dalí was expelled from the academy in 1926 for insulting one of his professors during his final examination before graduation. He then took a life-changing trip to Paris. He visited Pablo Picasso in his studio and found inspiration in what the Cubists were doing. He became greatly interested in Futurist attempts to recreate motion and show objects from simultaneous, multiple angles. He began studying the psychoanalytic concepts of Freud as well as metaphysical painters like Giorgio de Chirico and Surrealists like Joan Miró, and consequently began using psychoanalytic methods of mining the subconscious to generate imagery. All of this experimentation led to Dalí's first Surrealistic period in 1929. These oil paintings were small collages of his dream images. His work employed a meticulous classical technique, influenced by Renaissance artists, that contradicted the "unreal dream" space that he created with strange hallucinatory characters. Dalí's major contribution to the Surrealist movement was what he called the "paranoiac-critical method," a mental exercise of accessing the subconscious to enhance artistic creativity(Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theories). Dalí would use the method to create a reality from his dreams and subconscious thoughts, thus mentally changing reality to what he wanted it to be and not necessarily what it was.


This new style of art was Surrealism that allowed Dali to express all of his “erotic desires” and at the same time change the way the world viewed art. His fame and notoriety, and talent in the art world, quickly made him a leading force in the Surrealist movement, and he became one of the representatives of the art movement during the 1930s. In 1929, Salvador Dalí expanded his artistic exploration into the world of film-making, Luis Buñuel's Un Chien andalou (An Andalusian Dog) and L'Age d'or (The Golden Age, 1930) , and Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound (1945). Dalí's paintings were used in a dream sequence in the film, and aided the plot by giving clues to solving the secret to character John Ballantine's psychological problems.


Marie-Laure de Noailles and Viscount and Viscountess Charles were Dali's first patrons. French aristocrats, both husband and wife invested heavily in avant-garde art in the early 20th century.


As his style matured, Dali’s works became more and more affected by the concept of psychoanalysis devised by Freud that works were increasingly shaped into dreamlike illustrations. One of Dalí's most famous paintings produced at this time—and perhaps the best-known Surrealist work—was The Persistence of Memory (1931), in which he depicted several clocks as melted in a desert setting with the ocean appearing below the horizon. The painting, sometimes called Soft Watches, shows melting pocket watches in a landscape setting.


In 1934, Dali was accused of showing an interest in the fascist movement led by Hitler and as a result he was kicked out of the Surrealist group in Paris. This did not affect Dali’s art or life because by that time he was well known worldwide for his special style. During World War II, Dalí and his wife moved to the United States. They remained there until 1948, when they moved back to his beloved Catalonia.


The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York gave him his own retrospective exhibit in 1941. This was followed by the publication of his autobiography, The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí (1942). Also during this time, Dalí's focus moved away from Surrealism and into his classical period. His feud with members of the Surrealist movement continued, but Dalí seemed undaunted. His ever-expanding mind had ventured into new subjects.


Over the next 15 years, Dalí painted a series of 19 large canvases that included scientific, historical or religious themes. He often called this period "Nuclear Mysticism." During this time, his artwork took on a technical brilliance combining meticulous detail with fantastic and limitless imagination. He would incorporate optical illusions, holography and geometry within his paintings. Much of his work contained images depicting divine geometry, the DNA, the Hyper Cube and religious themes of Chastity. One such piece was Christ of Saint John of the Cross, which he painted in 1951. He also took an approach on sexual subjects as well, and many images he created were of his wife Gala.


From 1960 to 1974, Dalí dedicated much of his time to creating the Teatro-Museo Dalí (Dalí Theatre-Museum) in Figueres. The museum's building had formerly housed the Municipal Theatre of Figueres, where Dalí saw his public exhibition at the age of 14 (the original 19th century structure had been destroyed near the end of the Spanish Civil War). Located across the street from the Teatro-Museo Dalí is the Church of Sant Pere, where Dalí was baptized and received his first communion (his funeral would later be held there as well), and just three blocks away is the house where he was born.


The Teatro-Museo Dalí officially opened in 1974. The new building was formed from the ruins of the old and based on one of Dalí's designs, and is billed as the world's largest Surrealist structure, containing a series of spaces that form a single artistic object where each element is an inextricable part of the whole. The site is also known for housing the broadest range of work by the artist, from his earliest artistic experiences to works that he created during the last years of this life. Unfortunately, in the same year, Dalí dissolved his business relationship with manager Peter Moore. As a result, all rights to his collection were sold without his permission by other business managers and he lost much of his wealth. However, two wealthy American art collectors, A. Reynolds Morse and his wife, Eleanor, who had known Dalí since 1942, set up an organization called "Friends of Dalí" and a foundation to help boost the artist's finances. The organization also established the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida.


Today, we can still see Dalí's influence on artists painting in Surrealist styles, others in the contemporary visionary arts sphere and all over the digital art and illustration spectrums. Dalí's physical character in the world, eccentric and enigmatic, paved the way for artists to think of themselves as brands. He showed that there was no separation between Dalí the man and Dalí the work. His use of avant-garde filmmaking, provocative public performance and random, strategic interaction brought his work alive in ways that differed from the painting - instead of the viewer merely looking at a beautiful work that evoked great imagination, they would be "poked" in real life by a manifestation of Dalí's imagination designed to unsettle and conjure reaction. Dalí also spearheaded the idea that art, artist and artistic ability could cross many mediums and become a viable commodity. His exhaustive endeavors into fields ranging from fine art to fashion to jewelry to retail and theater design positioned him as a prolific businessman as well as creator. Unlike mass merchandising, which is often disdained in the art world, Dalí's hand touched such a variety of products and places, that literally anyone in the world could own a piece of him. (Today this practice is so common.)


In the future, much that seems significant to us today may lose its interest, but people will always look at Dali's work because of his extremely personal and always surprising imagination, for that is where his genius lies.



Tips

1. Museum open:Daily Hours 10am-5:30pm | Thursdays 10am-8pm.

2. Closed Thanksgiving Day & Christmas Day, Closed Mar 8-10, 2019.

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