Salvador Dalí loved Paris but few realize the Catalan artist resided for a time, at 7 rue Becquerel in Montmartre. Today close to his former home, there is a museum-gallery which contains hundreds of his works.
Espace Dalí museum-gallery
The Espace Dalí museum-gallery is located in the heart of the hilltop artists’ village in Montmartre. It contains the largest collection of artworks by Salvador Dalí in France. First opened in 1991, the gallery is an extraordinary chance to discover Dalí’s multifaceted work.
The collection of over 300 of Dalí’s works was put together by Italian art dealer and collector Beniamino Levi from his private collection which he started in the 70’s. La Galleria Levi in Milan featured exhibitions of heavyweights like Dubuffet, Picasso, Kandinsky and Le Corbusier, and in 1974, thanks to friendships with art dealer/collector Heinz Berggruen and Arturo Schwarz, Levi met Dalí at the Hotel Meurice where Dalí and Gala, Dalí’s wife and muse, would spend almost a month each year spanning thirty years.
Levi’s first acquisition was Œufs sur le plat sans le plat (Fried Eggs On A Plate Without The Plate 1932) and Harpe invisible (Invisible Harp 1934) later exposed at his Milan gallery. After meetings in Paris, New York and Spain, Levi, forced to close his gallery, acquired the rights to publish twenty-nine images of some of Dalí’s most renowned paintings, The Temptation of Saint Anthony, The Persistence of Memory, Giraffe on Fire, giving Levi the rights to make bronze sculptures based on models designed by Dalí.
An incredible collection of Dalí’s artwork
From Dalí’s signature soft watches to theatrical, humorous and poetic objets and furnishings, The Maestro’s obsessions are on display, along with his fascination with science and the subconscious.
To better organize exhibitions, the central wall spins around a pillar so visitors can stroll between Dalí-esque metamorphoses and “galacidalacidesoxyribonucleicacid,” one of Dalí’s tongue-twisting neologisms for Gala, who predeceased him by seven years.
In “Conversations With Picasso,” Hungarian-born photographer/writer/artist and friend of Dalí, Brassaï writes, “Dalí met and surpassed (the surrealists’) expectations: he was the dreamed-of painter of dreams, of ecstasy, of erotic frenzy; a man in a delirium, a neurotic with all sorts of complexes, the bold and lucid explorer of the ‘irrational.’”
Dalí’s work always contained a whimsical element and the collection is the fruit of the emblematic surrealist artist’s extravagant inspiration: theatrical, erotic, dreamlike, often playful. There are sculptures, engravings and paintings, all part of the phantasmagorical universe of the man from Port Lligat.
Following several months of renovation work Espace Dalí reopened in spring 2018, the museum is a must for art and Dali fans…
ESPACE DALÍ,11 rue Poulbot, 75018 Paris; www.daliparis.com/en
Barbara Pasquet James is a U.S. lifestyle editor, speaker, and urban explorer who writes about food fashion and culture, from Paris. Find out more on her blog FocusOnParis.com