Dalí Museum

Art Privee
Apr 1, 2013 10:13PM

If you are visiting the St. Petersburg area in Florida, you will want to see the Dalí Museum. Created by A. Reynolds and Eleanor R. Morse over a 40 year period, 96 of Dalí’s oil paintings are the basis for this outstanding collection. The Morses were friends with Gala and Salvador Dalí from the early 1940s through the 1970s and their collection has examples of work from every period of Dalí’s career. Today, the collection has more than 2,100 pieces and an archival library devoted to Dalí’s works. 

The Morses wanted to donate their entire collection to an art museum but because of the restrictions of their gift, museums shied away from their collection.  Community leaders of the city of St Petersburg offered to build a museum and care for the collection. The museum was opened in 1982. The collection found a new home in 2011, in a museum designed by Yann Weymouth. The museum’s architectural staircase is the focal point and center of the museum, and references Dali’s obsession with spirals and the double helix shape of the DNA code. 

In 1943, the Morses purchased their very first Dalí painting in New York: “Daddy Longlegs of the Evening-Hope!” (1943). It was also the first painting Dalí completed in New York after fleeing Europe. Melting oozing figures–the artist playing a defunct cello, a plane on the ground and a child retracting to the horrors of war, are the many images and symbols to be analyzed in this iconic work. No wonder the Morses felt Dalí’s work was remarkable. 

A very large, extraordinary painting that takes one’s breath away is titled, “Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea which at Twenty Meters Becomes the Portrait of Abraham Lincoln (Homage to Rothko).” At first glance, this painting is an abstract work focusing on Gala’s back, the  sun in the sky with boxes of colors in the background. Approached from different angles, one sees a large image of Abraham Lincoln looking out from the painting. Bearing Dalí’s trademark wit, it is brilliant and kitschy at the same time.  

This premiere collections features many wonderful, large paintings and historically important works. The gift shop is terrific, you can find something for everyone. Don’t miss the Dalí designed jewerly and the perfume bottles (http://www.artprivee.org/private-museums-and-foundations/north-america/united-states/st-petersburg/dali-museum/).

If you like glass, be sure to check out the Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center not far from the Dalí  Musem (www.moreanartscenter.org/content.php?id=90).

Art Privee