Salvador Dali Museum in Florida

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  • United StatesFloridaSt. Petersburg

Salvador Dali   (May 11, 1904 - January 23, 1989) 

Born in Figueres, Spain in 1904, Salvador Dali is known for his technical skill as a painter and the shocking quality of his imagination. His pioneering spirit was also accompanied by a reverence of tradition and a will for continuity. Dali consistently depicted the landscape of his homeland, one that became synonymous with the landscape of the imagination and of dreams. He forged in his long career a remarkable body of work, and his life demonstrates the richness of living creatively in every aspect of one's existence. 

Salvador Dali was the only surviving male child of a prosperous Catalan family that divided its time between Figueres and the coastal village of Cadaques. Dali attended a prominent art academy in Madrid. From his earliest years as an artist he exhibited his work widely, lectured, and wrote. In 1929 he joined the Surrealist movement becoming its most visible and controversial member. That year, Dali met Gala Eluard when she visited him with her husband, poet Paul Eluard. Subsequently, Gala became Dali's wife, his muse, primary model, and life-long obsession. 

Dali broke with the Surrealist movement in 1939. He and Gala fled Europe in 1940 and spent the war years in the United States where he revised his strategy toward art, rejecting modernism and connecting with other traditions of art. In 1947 Dali and Gala returned to Spain and thereafter divided their time between Europe and the United States. In 1974, Dali organized a museum of his own collection of art, the Teatro-Museo Dali in Figueres. After the death of Gala in 1982, Dali's health declined. His final years were spent in seclusion at his museum. Salvador Dali died on January 23, 1989 in the place of his birth.


The Dali Today 


Designed by architect Yann Weymouth of HOK, the new building combines the rational with the fantastical: a simple rectangle with 18-inch thick hurricane-proof walls out of which erupts a large free-form geodesic glass bubble known as the "enigma." The "enigma," which is made up of 1062 triangular pieces of glass, stands 75 feet at its tallest point, a twenty-first century homage to the dome that adorns Dali's museum in Spain. Inside, the Dali houses another unique architectural feature - a helical staircase - recalling Dali's obsession with spirals and the double helical shape of the DNA molecule. 

The Garden Outside on the waterfront, the Dali garden creates a unique environment of learning and tranquility. The Mathematical Garden allows students to experience the relationship between math and nature, and a labyrinth in the southeast corner invites exploration and well-being. 

First Floor Visitors enter through the Dali Museum Store, featuring the largest collection of Dali-inspired merchandise in the world. A cafe offering Spanish-themed light fare has indoor and outdoor seating. The theater regularly shows a short film about the museum and is also the setting for concerts and lectures. Children and adults can take classes or participate in making art in the Classroom. The Raymond James Community Room is a space for conferences, weddings and other private events. 

Second Floor This is where scholars of Dali and the Avant-garde will do research in the Museum's extensive library. The administrative offices of the museum are located on this floor. 

Third Floor Galleries On the third floor, visitors arrive at a landing with a view of the gardens and waterfront through the "enigma." On either side of the landing are two wings of gallery space. A section of paintings paintings are on display along with Dalis works of other media, including surrealist objects and a selection of Dali's prints and drawings. Student work inspired by Dali is on view in the education gallery.


The Dali Museum Collection 


The Dali Museum Collection is rich in works from artist Salvador Dali's entire career (1904-1989), with key works from every moment and in every medium of his artistic activity. The Collection includes 96 oil paintings, many original drawings, bookworks, prints, sculpture, photos, manuscripts, and an extensive archive of documents. Founded with the works collected by Reynolds and Eleanor Morse, the Museum has made significant additions to its collection. 

The third floor galleries in the Tom and Mary James Wing provide a chronological gathering of Dali's paintings. The small salons along the outer walls are illuminated by special skylights and display the large paintings over which Dali labored in the last decades of his career. The Hough Family Wing provides visitors a chance to see other aspects of the artist's work, featuring his films, photographs, objects and works on paper. 

The distinguished building, which opened on Jan. 11, 2011, enables the Museum to protect and display our collection, to welcome our public, and to educate and promote enjoyment. In a larger sense it is a place of beauty dedicated, as is Dali's art, to understanding and transformation.


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