The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida holds an expansive amount of the many masterpieces by artist extraordinaire, Salvador Dali. While I was in Florida during the holiday season, I made sure to visit the exhibitions, as the furthest I ever made it inside the previous year was the gift shop. This post got buried as I got busy with other posts, like the Miami posts, that you can read about here and here. Although I believe everything happens for a reason, and a little escapism is needed right now. So with this post I invite you to peek into the Dali museum, and Salvador Dali’s world.
Surrealism: Surrealism is the form of art that Dali is most known for, although it is not the only type of art he did. The best words I can use to describe this art form are “dream like”. Although as per Lexico powered by Oxford:
“Surrealism is a 20th century avant-garde movement in art and literature which sought to release the creative potential of the unconscious mind, for example by the irrational juxtaposition of images.
Launched in 1924 by a manifesto of André Breton and having a strong political content, the movement grew out of symbolism and Dada and was strongly influenced by Sigmund Freud. In the visual arts its most notable exponents were André Masson, Jean Arp, Joan Miró, René Magritte, Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, Man Ray, and Luis Buñuel.”
Dali was born in Spain, May 11th, 1904
Dali knew how to speak French
He was thrown out of the San Fernando Academy of Art in Madrid after he refused to be tested in the theory of art and claimed the judges to be incompetent
In the 1920’s he started painting Surrealism after moving to Paris and being introduced to this latest art form by Andre Brenton
By the 1930’s Dali was nearly expelled from the Surrealist art movement by other leaders of the group due to public outbursts and a personal disagreement with leader, Andre Breton.
During the 1940’s Dali and his wife, Gala moved to New York where he exhibited at the MoMA. He went on to work with Alfred Hitchcock, and Walt Disney on different projects.
In the 1950’s Dali and Gala remarried, and he entered into his “nuclear mysticism” art period where he combined the subjects of religion, DNA, geometry, and illusions.
Dali passed away at 84 years old on January 23rd, 1989. Dali’s final works were inspired by mathematics, immortality and the “fourth dimension”.
My Favorite Pieces in the Museum: The museum showed Dali’s range of art as a master of both Surrealism and Classic art. His move away from Surrealism came during the 1950’s as his inspirations changed. I loved seeing his evolution and learning what inspired him during each part of his artistic life. Here are some of my favorites, some of which I bought postcard versions of.
The Museum Itself:
The museum has quirky architecture, inspired by Dali’s art and things that inspired him. The “Enigma” glass bubble that wraps part of the building, makes the building itself a work of art. The “helical” or spiral staircase inside was inspired by Dali’s love of spirals and the form that DNA molecule makes.
The museum has a garage for parking, and costs $25 for adults to enter with cheaper prices for students, children, and first responder’s or military. You can also download the Dali Museum app to give you more information and a in depth solo tour. As the museum is currently closed they have their exhibitions online at the moment. The museum is said to have a total of 2,400 works by Dali.
Midnight in Paris Exhibition:
At the time there was also an exhibition in the museum called Midnight in Paris 1929, which showcased works by other Surrealist masters as well as Dali’s. It also gave people a peak into their lives, what inspired their work and showcased what each artist actually looked like. Its currently one of the exhibitions you can see on the museum website as well.
Other experiences in the museum: Dreams of Dali VR and the Avant-Garden
The museum has a Virtual Reality experience in which you can step into different Dali paintings. This was a very cool experience and something my art loving mind and heart thoroughly enjoyed. I wish I could have taken pictures of what I was seeing, it was really like stepping into a painting and walking around in it. Experience it for yourself in its online version here.
It was my second time visiting the garden, as its not blocked off from the waterfront walk that runs through other parts of St. Pete. It’s a relaxing garden with sculptures by Dali, a labyrinth, which I didn’t realize was there, a grotto and other aspects that combine math, nature and art. I will have to make it back to see the labyrinth.
The Fashion Industry and Surrealism:
Having an education in fashion I can tell you that, Surrealism and the masters of this art form often crossed paths with the fashion designers of the time. It’s no surprise when fashion crosses with other art forms, and it still happens to this day. Salvador Dali and Elsa Schiaperelli often mingled in the same circles and were known to be good friends. They inspired each other to push the boundaries of their work. The Dali Museum recognizes this connection between the two art forms to this day with events in the past with Neiman Marcus.
The museum itself is small and is only two floors, but the collection of art gives you a good education on who Dali was and how his art evolved. On another note as per the website you don’t need a ticket to visit the gift shop or cafe, but I do remember them asking to see my wristband to see the exhibitions. I highly recommend visiting The Dali if you make it to St. Petersburg, which is also the only museum in the Southeastern United Sates to be awarded three Michelin Stars. Take some time to walk the city when you’re done with the museum and you’ll see art infused throughout the city with murals and painted electrical boxes.
Have you been to the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg? Is it on your bucket list now? Let me know in the comments and on social media.- T.S.