The Salvador Dalí exhibition opened at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Wednesday, boasting some of the surrealist artist’s most acclaimed works.
There are more than 200 works by the famous 20th century artist, many of which have never before been shown in the United States, according to the exhibition.
“Salvador Dalí [the exhibition] is organized by the Palazzo Grassi, Venice and the Philadelphia Museum of Art in collaboration with the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation, Figueres, Spain, which has commissioned a world-wide Dalí Centennial year of exhibitions and events,” according to the art museum Web site.
The exhibition marks the 100th anniversary of the Spanish artist’s birth on May 11, 1904. Although Dalí is known for his surrealist art, he began in the impressionist and postimpressionist style under the tutelage of long-time family friend, postimpressionist artist Ramon Pichot, according to the exhibition.
The exhibit moves you through a chronological arrangement of Dalí’s work; from his early impressionist days, onto Cubism and Futurism and then through his surrealism work. It then goes on to highlight what it calls his lesser known post-World War II work, including Dalí’s self described “Nuclear Mysticism” stage.
According to the exhibition, Dalí, who in the 1930’s was heavily influenced by the writings of Sigmund Freud, transformed the surrealist style from the abstract into paintings with often photo-like realism because he “believed that his detailed illusionism was better suited to explore dream imagery and the subconscious.”
Dalí had figuratively called Freud his father in his early days, but now said, “Today, the exterior world-that of physics-has transcended the one of psychology. My father today is Dr. Heisenberg.”
Dalí was a very versatile artist, according to the exhibition, and the exhibition showcases many of the various media Dalí worked with, including paintings, furniture, sculpture, halograms, and movies. During his lifetime, Dalí took part in the production of 10 movies, three plays, two operas, and nine ballets.
The exhibition includes such famous works as his Mae West Lips Sofa, 1938, and the Lobster Telephone, 1938 as well as the dream sequence from Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound which he designed.
The exhibition is a collection of works from museums and private collections in 14 different countries, according to the exhibition, including such famous museums as the Vatican Museums, Vatican City, the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.
Amparo Lago, exhibition attendee from Phoenixville, but originally from Madrid, Spain, said of the exhibition “It was good because it avoided the commercialization of Dalí that everyone thinks of. It was a good representation of his art. I was in the museum in his hometown [Figueres, Spain] but they did a good job with the exhibition.”
“I really liked how they had it in order from earliest to latest, you could see his work mature,” said Colleen Vetty, who came in from the suburbs to see the exhibition.
Flo Difranco, who is an exchange student from Grenoble, France said, “It was gorgeous! I loved it!”
Josh Chamberlain can be reached at Joshch@temple.edu.