Friday, December 13, 2013

On the trail of Spain's splashy Salvador Dali: he lived, loved, created with a larger than life approach

The  Dali Theatre-Museum in Figueres, Spain, sets the tone for a magical day, with its egg-topped facade.


“Without an audience, without the presence of spectators, these.... would not fulfill the function for which they came into being.  The viewer, then, is the ultimate artist.”—Salvador Dali, 1959.


MENTION Salvador Dali and what comes to mind?
Dali's "Soft Self-Portrait with Fried Bacon" was painted in 1941.
The clock face melting off the table, the elaborately manicured mustache, the piercing eyes, a sense of regal daring in everything he did.
Dali pushed the envelope in the art world and in his personal life.  He teased, flirted, played.  He made his audience think.  He was a fine painter, capable of elegant  representational work, but he achieved international attention through his splashy surrealist creations:   “The Eye of Time” with its piercing and glittering clock face as eye. His own playful “soft” self-portrait, with bacon!
An art lover is dwarfed by the gigantic female figure atop a Cadillac, with boat and palm. 
THE BASKET of bread, inching its way off the table is an apt metaphor for Dali.  He walked a high wire in the art world, maintaining his balance when taking artistic chances. His partner and eventual wife, Gala, inspired his “Atomic Leda” and “Galarina,” for she was his lover, muse and soul mate,  model for many of his fantastic and fanciful works.
WHAT FUN he would have been to interview, perhaps in one of his lavish sculpture  gardens, surrounded by antiques that he and his enthusiastic partner collected throughout Europe.
DALI WAS born in a beautiful corner of rural Spain in 1904 and lived to be 85, spending his most fertile period  with  Gala, whom he married in 1958.  Together, they created three museums. One was developed from a castle with elephant sculptures adorning a labyrinth of huts built by fishermen and woven together by the couple between  1930 and 1970.
One of Cookie's favorite Dali sculptures in Figueres. 
VISITORS MAY enjoy myriad aspects of Dali’s life in all three museums, which emphasize his insistence that the visitor/viewer  participate in the aesthetic experience by entering Dali’s eccentric world.  Our entree into his world began in Figueres, with his enchanting brick and egg-festooned museum and theater. One enters through a massive courtyard with a Cadillac and giant female sculpture of a winged Venus.
LIKE DALI, the figure is over the top.  In many respects, the artist lived a “normal” life.  He had one major, long relationship, stayed mostly in his beloved birth land, and cultivated passions for food, travel, theater and art.
A detail from Dali's "Palace of the Wind" ceiling includes Dali himself.
But “normal” obviously bored him, so his Cadillac sports a mythic woman, rising to greet the beyond. A palm tree holds up a boat. A woman’s golden locks are, upon closer inspection, dozens of corn stalks.  From a close-up perch, a sculpture resembles a couch.  But at long range it becomes Mae West’s lips.  Each tableau intrigues.  
Cookie and Keller at Parador Aiguablava on the Dali trail.
DALI DIED in 1989, but his legacy lives on through a foundation which preserves his work in the three splendid and lavish venues. In Figueres, the Dali Theatre-Museum, inaugurated in 1974, presents his broad-range of work in a “more is more” theme.  From that imperious giant Venus figure with Cadillac in the courtyard, framed by the palm and boat, to the Mae West room and the world of Dali is opulent, glittery, energetic and fun! Come with us to visit the other two Dali venues!
COMING UP:  Dali's world offers the visitor a fascinating aesthetic experience, but museums are only part of it.  Add food, sun, vino, antiquities as we travel through Dali country to a unique parador on the rugged Costa Brava. Dali's love of food and wine is explored through our own "taste tests" then we visit a 12th Century village which inspired Dali, and revel in sunlit pleasures of a remote corner of eastern Spain. Remember to explore, learn and live, and visit us                                                                                                           Wednesdays and Saturdays at                                                                                                             

1 comment:

  1. So Jealous that you were able to visit the Mother of all Dali Museums!!! Not only my favorite artist of all times, but a genius whose mind held a brilliant cleverness that goes unmatched! Lovely piece! I wish you had interviewed him! That would have been an epic story and experience!