Do you know how many Salvador Dali Museums are there?
Salvador Dali was born in 1904 in Figueres, just about 2 hours drive from Barcelona, Spain. He had a fearful and obsessive spirit that was also extremely curious and creative. And would turn him into one of the most intriguing artists in Art History. Inspired by his intelligent and liberal wife Gala, he spent his time between Paris, the USA and the little Catalan county near the French border where he was born: the Empordà.
Dali is an artist that you either love or hate, but never leaves you indifferent. His art is often dismissed as “crazy”, and while craziness is definitely part of its essence, it’s much deeper than you’d think. This is why I love taking guests to the Dali Museums: because it’s a day that mixes wow and aha moments with laughter.
Sadly, I’m very familiar with our local Dali Museums, but I’ve only been to one outside of Spain. There’s one more in my list, maybe next time I visit my relatives in the US. And researching for this post I discovered a few more that now I’m intrigued about. Do you want to know how many Salvador Dali museums are there?
These are all the Dali Museums around the world:
Dali Museums in Spain - The Dali Triangle
Dali had three homes in the Empordà. Actually not the house where he was born and rise in Figueres, since his father cut him out of his will. In Figueres you have the Theater Museum: the former local theater burnt during the Spanish Civil War. Dali himself refurbished it to become his main museum. A place that feels like a fun fair, that Dali considered the largest surrealist creation in the world. This is the place to come to see Dali artwork in Spain. In the same building, but with a separate entrance and additional ticket, there’s the permanent exhibit Joies. A fascinating collection of surrealist jewels that Dali created for his millionaire friends and clients in the US.
About 1 hour away, in the little village of Pubol you can visit the Castle Museum. This was Gala’s private headquarters, where she received her lovers. Dali offered it to her as a gift, and she accepted it with the condition that Dali would only be allowed in as long as she had sent him a written invitation.. Yes, they had a quite peculiar relationship! The visit to the Castle Museum reveals you the most intimate part of the life of the couple.
Finally, also one hour away from Figueres but by the sea rather than in the countryside, there’s the House Museum of Portlligat (Cadaques). Portlligat is the name of the bay where Gala and Dali assembled a bunch of fishing shags to turn them into their home. Cadaques is the name of the village nearby. The House Museum is the place where you discover the Dali behind the scenes. Who he really was when there weren’t journalists around.
Dali Paris (France)
I discovered the Dali Museum in Paris back in 2002. I spent a month and half in Paris, and I was strolling around Montmartre when I suddenly hit it. I had to go inside! And now that I’m researching for this post I see that it has been completely made over after 2018… so it gets back on my must-see list! Unlike the Spanish Salvador Dali museums, that were mostly donations of the artist, the Paris museum is based on a private collection. Mr Beniamino Levi was an art dealer,museum curator and personal friend of Dali. The collection of Dali Paris consists mainly of bronze sculptures and watercolors. The influence of literature (Quichotte, Alice in Wonderland), mythology and the bible is patent in the artwork displayed.
The Dali (Florida, USA)
Next time I visit my relatives in Florida, I must go to Saint Petersburg. Not Saint Petersburg, Russia, but the one right outside Sarasota. Almost twice as large as the Theater Museum in Figueres and 8 times bigger than the one in Paris, The Dali is also based on a private collection. A. Reynolds and Eleanor Morse were art collectors and close friends of Gala and Dali.
At least two of the paintings there area also found in the Theater Museum in Figueres. Dali liked them so much that he made copies from the originals in Florida. I’m talking about Hallucinogenic Toreador and Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea. Both of them are genius pieces hiding unexpected optical effects.
Dali Prague - Enigma (Prague, Czech Republic)
Researching for this post I was surprised to see there’s a Dali Museum in Prague. But it’s not that strange I hadn’t heard of it: it’s only been open since December 2019. From what I see, it’s also managed by Beniamino Levi though his company Dali Universe. The collection seems to be also focused on sculpture and it’s about a third of what you can see in Paris. The story-line of this small collection revolves around psychoanalysis and paranoia in Dali works. Quite intriguing, isn’t it? Surely fascinating.
Ralli Museum 1 (Caesarea, Israel)
This museum makes part of the Ralli project by Harry Recanati to make people discover contemporary Latin American Art. Their website doesn’t give much information about it, but from what I understand they have a decent number of Dali sculptures on display.
Europe, America, the Middle East... are where can you see Dali in Asia?
Morohashi Museum of Modern Art ( Yama-gun, Fukushima - Japan)
A last surprise. There’s a museum with over 300 Dali pieces located in the middle of the Bandai Asahi National Park in Japan. Teizo Morohashi, founder of the museum, was an avid Dali collector, so most of the museum collection are Dali works. The rest are other western artist from the XX century. The collection is a balanced mix of oils, prints and bronze sculptures.
Of course, there are many other museums where you can get to see one or two Dali pieces. In Barcelona that would be the MNAC and the Museum of Montserrat. We had a small sculpture and print gallery open in the Gothic Quarter for a while, but it closed years ago… Other museums wtih Dali pieces in Spain are the Reina Sofia and the Thyssen Bornemitsza in Madrid. And you need to get to the MOMA in New York to see the first painting were Dali ever did a soft clock: the Persistance of Memory. Or you can head to Figueres to see the tapestry replica Dali got for his museum. It’s actually much bigger than the tiny 9 1/2 x 13″ (24.1 x 33 cm) of the original!
Are you surprised there are so many Salvador Dali Museums around the world? How many have you visited?
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