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The Salvador Dali Museum St Petersburg, Florida… EH?!

Salvador DAli Museum-St Petersburg- Florida

Salvador DAli Museum-St Petersburg- Florida

The new Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida

 The Salvador Dali Museum in Florida. EH?

 

What the heck is a world-acclaimed museum dedicated to Salvador Dali doing in St Petersburg, Florida? Good question!

 

After all, Dali was Spanish, wasn’t he? Yes indeed.

 

So… what did Dali have to do with Florida? Absolutely nothing, as it turns out!

 

In fact, the American collectors of this ‘largest collection of Dali’s work in the world, outside of Spain.’ don’t even have anything particularly to do with Florida either.  A Reynolds and Elizabeth Morse were from Cleveland, Ohio! Eh?!

 

Plot thickens… Here’s the story as I’ve heard it told:

 

posters of Dali’s paintings for sale in the Dali Museum’s store

 

Mr. and Mrs. Morse first became fascinated with Dali’s work in 1942 at a retrospective show of Dali’s paintings at the Cleveland Museum of Art. They bought their first Dali painting in 1943 and later met Dali and his wife, Gala, the same year in New York City. That kicked off a life-long friendship with many visits to Dali in Spain and 40 years of collecting Dali’s work. By the time they were finished, the Morses had amassed one of the largest retrospective collections of a single artist in the world!! Over 2000 pieces, with works from 1917-1970. (Dali’s art from age 13- 66 !)

 

In 1971 the Morses created a museum in Cleveland, adjacent to Mr. Morse’s company, to house and show their extensive private collection. A few years later came the big kicker: The United States tax laws changed. The Morses were required to declare the total current value of all artwork owned. Suddenly, the taxes they owed the US government outstripped their entire wealth! (gee, thanks Mr. Taxman!)
So, in 1979 they began a nationwide search for a museum to which they could donate the entire collection. They had some strict stipulations which made finding a compatible museum difficult. They insisted that none of the pieces could be sold or separated. (makes sense to me!) Finally a group of St Petersburg community leaders made an offer, complying with their stipulations. And thus the Dali Museum was born in St Pete, opening in 1982.

 

So that’s how The Dali Museum came to be located in St. Pete , Florida! Cool story, eh?!
As for how I happened to visit the museum recently:

 

Dali Museum from bay side drive

 

This year, on January 11, the NEW Dali Museum opened along the St Petersburg waterfront. The architecture is astounding! And, quite interestingly, it reminds me very much of the gorgeous modern buildings I recently presented in my photo gallery ‘Architecture of Singapore’ Lots of angled glass and futuristic design elements.

 

Dali Museum, Bay side

 

I’d seen the new museum building while cycling around the city and couldn’t wait to go! I’d actually visited the original Dali Museum several years ago while visiting my brother Brad, who lives in St. Pete. I was more than excited to go see Dali’s artwork again.. and get the low-down on the museum.

 

Dali Museum, bay side
Dali Museum, bay side, in garden

So on my recent birthday I spent the day at the museum, along with my mom and brother, asking questions, browsing around the eclectic Museum Shop (what cool stuff they have!) and most importantly, gazing wide-eyed at Salvador Dali’s art.

Dali Museum garden: melting clock on bench
Dali Museum store

 

I joined a guided tour, which was fascinating. I learned a lot about Dali, his life, ideas, inspirations, techniques, and artistic development. I also learned much about several selected paintings- the meanings, techniques and symbolisms in the works. WOW- his paintings are incredibly complex! His mastery of color, light and complexity are astounding. It’s no wonder whatsoever why he’s one of the most famous and successful artists in the world.

Not surprisingly, nobody is allowed to photograph the actually paintings. So instead I’ve got lots of pics of the fantastic museum architecture… Check this out:

Atrium staircase leading up to the sky window
closer shot of spiral staircase and sculpture
and closer…
the tip-top point

 

view from inside the lobby looking out
view 2.. of St Petersburg marina

 

Happily, the amazing surrealist architecture of the new museum building lives up to the quality and creative of Dali’s work.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about the Dali Museum check their website: TheDali.org
And, if you ever get a chance to visit DO IT!

 

Reporting from Florida, Lash

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  1. Dimagirl

    It is a lovely museum and well needed in St. Petersburg to house such an extensive precious collection. I live in Bilbao Spain also and here we have the Guggenheim of Bilbao. They do a wonderful music series each year highlighting musicians and DJ's-we pay a ticket price which also allows one to view the exhibits in the evening while listening to the artist/artists. It is a wonderful evening event and dont' know if the museum in St. Pete does this but is very popular here.

  2. LASH

    Hi Dimagirl! thanks for stopping by and reading my post on the Dali Museum.
    the Gugenheim in Blibao sounds fantastic!
    the Dali here does many evening events including weekly movies of Dali or Dali-themed movies and other stuff. Nice to meet another museum / art fan! cheers, Lash

  3. Dimagirl

    Good to hear they have things going on there. The story behind the collection is fascinating and I can't even begin to imagine being an owner of even one of these paintings! I have my few favorites in the museum but enjoy all of them. He was a very eccentric man with an eccentric life all reflective in his paintings.

  4. LASH

    I think the story behind the collection is quite interesting, too. Yeah, how awesome would that hve been to befriend Dali, visit him at his home, and have money to buy all his paintings, thus essentially being his patron?! That's what I'd do if I were wealthy- sponsor artists… and take care of cats. :))

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It was referred to as the city of  “the newlyweds and nearly deads” and the place “where retired people go to visit their parents.” Oh, dear, not good for commerce! During the following 2 decades, St Pete became pretty much a ghost town.Stetson School of LawStetson School of Law, originally Ragayt Hotel, St Petersburg To remedy this and revitalize the city, various developers and city officials undertook the task of changing the city image, mostly by tearing down old buildings and replacing them with modern ones. That scheme eventually worked too. And today, voila! St Petersburg has emerged as a completely revitalized modern city, simultaneously attracting a completely different breed of tourist and becoming an invigorating place to live. In fact, the city has gained a new image as “The City of the Arts.” Dazzio School of Art and galleryDazzio School of Art and gallery In recent years, among other things, St Pete has been dubbed America’s #1 mid-sized-city ‘Top Art Destination 2010′. 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