Surrealistic Dali’s retrospective in Monaco commemorating 30th anniversary of the artist’s demise

Royal inauguration of Dali’s exhibition

The exhibition Dali, a history of painting, at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco, was officially inaugurated yesterday Friday, July 5, by H.S.H. Prince Albert II accompanied by H.R.H. Infanta Cristina de Bourbon, sister of Felipe King of Spain, and other distinguished guests. The exhibition will be open to the public every day from 10:00 to 20:00 until September 8, 2019.

In the photo surrounding Prince Albert II (L to R): Henri Fissore, President of Grimaldi Forum Monaco;  H.E. Serge Telle, Minister of State; H.R.H. Infanta Cristina, Member of the Board of the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí; Montse Aguer, Exhibition Curator and Director of the Musées Dali; Mariangela Vilallonga, Minister of Culture of Catalonia; Jordi Mercader, President of the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí; Francesc Vilaro, General Secretary of Culture of Catalonia @JC Vinaj, Grimaldi Forum Monaco

Privileged guests joined Prince Albert for a private viewing of the exhibition, followed by a spectacular gourmet dinner on the stage of the Salle des Princes, lavishly decorated as Dali himself would have imagined. Probably the spirit of the painter was walking around the tables and rejoicing.

This paramount exhibition was curated by Montse Aguer Teixidor, Director of the Dali Museum, with William Chatelain, responsible for the exhibition design, under the general coordination of Catherine Alestchenkoff, Cultural Director, and the leadership of Sylvie Biancheri, General Director of the Grimaldi Forum, and a team of highly accomplished professionals. Laura Bartolome Roviras, the curator of the Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation, Clara Silvestre and the staff of the Foundation, presided over by Jori Mercader Miro, collaborated closely with Montse Aguer in the planning and implementation of this exhibition.

Discovering the universe of the surrealistic painter

During the Press visit in the morning and the private viewing in the evening, guests had the opportunity to be guided by no other than the exhibition’s curator Montse Aguer. The portrait of the artistic icon bearing his famous mustache welcomes the visitor at the entrance of the exhibition, an invitation to delve into Dali’s eccentric, provocative, and surreal universe.

This retrospective, depicts Dali’s artistic career from 1912 to 1983, featuring over one hundred paintings of the controversial Catalan artist. It succeeds in allowing the visitor to rediscover the painter, whose bizarre and unconventional personality often overshadowed his incredible talent, and highlights his contribution to surrealism and by extent the history of painting.

William Chatelain’s exhibition design was inspired by Dali’s bohemian house (now converted into a museum), in the island of Portlligat, a tiny fishing village on the Costa Brava, on the Mediterranean Sea. Chatelain recreated the windows of Dali’s home and the views that so inspired the artist so the visitor can see what he saw. The designer even managed to reconstruct, from available sketches, the atelier the artist had wished to build for himself but never did.

Artistic creation was in Dali’s DNA

The exhibition features a selection of paintings, drawings, documents and photographs, the acumen of Dali’s extensive creative development. Below is a timelime with a sample of the exhibited works of art that the artist created at different stages of his life.

Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dali Domenech, 1st Marquis of Dali de Pubol, better known as Salvador Dali, or simply Dali, was a prominent Spanish surrealist painter, born on May 11, 1904, in Figueres, Catalonia.  A daydreamer in school, he had a raw and defiant artistic creative talent coupled with a wild imagination. He was a teenager when he painted his first landscape. He attended drawing school in Figueres 1916 and had his first public exhibition in 1919 as part of a group show.  He was devastated when he lost his beloved mother when he was only 17 years old.

Dali was admitted to Madrid’s San Fernando Academy of Art in 1922, and it was in 1926 he met his highly admired countryman Picasso (b.1881) in Paris. “I have come to see you before visiting the Louvre,” Dali had said to the older artist. Dali and Picasso became the most famous artists of their time and the most influential on the art of the 21stcentury.

In 1928, Dali’s Basket of Bread exhibited at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh in PA gained him international acclaim. He joined the Surrealist movement and created the shocking avant-garde film An Andalusian Dog with Luis Bunuel. In 1929 the artist met the love of his life Gala (who was 10 years his senior and was at the time married to Surrealist poet Paul Eluard) marrying her five years later, a never-ending romantic relationship.

In 1931 he painted melting watches in The Persistence of Memory to represent how all things, even time, are destructible. In 1936 he made the cover of Times Magazine wearing a diving suit during his lecture at London’s International Surrealist Exhibition. In 1939 he designed the surreal Dream of Venus pavilion for the World‘s Fair in New York.

In 1942 New York’s Dial Press published Dali’s creative autobiography The Secret Life of Salvador Dali. In 1948 Dali and Gala returned to Europe. In 1949 he painted his first large-sized religious canvas, Madonna of Port Lligat. His father died in 1950 and a year after he wrote his Mystical Manifesto, describing his personal paranoia and artistic transformation after the Hiroshima tragic event.

In 1961 he began creating the Teatro-Museo Dali in Figueres, that finally opened in 1974. In 1966 he had a historical 250-piece retrospective in New York City’s Gallery of Modern Art. It was in 1975 that Dali painted his final masterwork, a mind-shattering visual illusion entitle Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea that at 20 meters becomes the Portrait of Abraham Lincoln (Homage to Rothko).  In 1982 he painted his final painting, The Swallow’s Tail. That same year Gala died at Pubol, the castle that Dali had bought and remodeled especially for her.

Dali was largely influenced by the great Masters. He had said: “Begin by learning to draw and paint like the old masters. After that, you can do as you like; everyone will respect you.” 

The Gala Salvador Dali Foundation was established in 1983 to promote and protect the artistic, cultural and intellectual work of the painter. Salvador Dali passed away on January 23, 1989, and lays in a crypt under the geodesic dome of the Teatro-Museo Dali, in his beloved natal town of Figueres.

Today’s Quote

“Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.” Salvador Dali

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