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Figueres, Home to Dali's Last Work of Art
01 March 2019 @ 19:17

The Dalí Theatre-Museum was inaugurated in 1974 and was built on the remains of the former Municipal Theatre of Figueres and is considered to be the last great work of art created by Salvador Dalí. Everything in it was conceived and designed by him so as to offer visitors an authentic experience and draw them into his unique, captivating and almost hypnotic world.

The Dalí Theatre-Museum's collection allows visitors to capture the artistic journey of Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) through a broad spectrum of works. The route around the rooms allows visitors to understand his first artistic experiences, surrealism, nuclear mysticism and his passion for science, guiding them to the works of the last part of his life. A visit to the museum is a unique experience, allowing visitors to experience and enjoy the genius's works and thoughts. In the words of Dalí himself:

 "It's obvious that other worlds exist, that's certain; but, as I've already said in many other occasions, these other worlds are inside ours, they reside on earth and are precisely at the centre of the dome of the Dalí Museum, which contains the new, unsuspected and hallucinatory world of Surrealism".

The Theatre-Museum project started at the beginning of the 'sixties. Ramon Guardiola, mayor of Figueres at the time, asked Salvador Dalí to donate a work for the Museu de l'Empordà. Dalí's reply came quickly: he would donate to Figueres not just a single work, but an entire museum:

"Where, if not in my own town, should the most extravagant and solid of my work endure, where if not here? The Municipal Theatre, or what remained of it, struck me as very appropriate, and for three reasons: first, because I am an eminently theatrical painter; second, because the theatre stands right opposite the church where I was baptised; and third, because it was precisely in the hall of the vestibule of the theatre where I hosted my first exhibition."  

The place in which the Dalinian project was to be located, as a specific wish of the artist, was the former Municipal Theatre of Figueres. Destroyed in a fire at the end of the Spanish Civil War, the building had been reduced to its peripheral structure. The ceiling of the orchestra pit had collapsed; of the boxes there remained only the access corridors to them and to the stage, the arch of the stage mouth and the side stores; the entrance hall and the toilets were the only parts that remained more or less intact. The artist planned to take advantage of the spectral charm offered by the ruins of the former theatre in order to house the future museum.

From the 'seventies onwards, Dalí devoted his entire attention to the museum project, taking part in it and designing its tiniest details, until it became real with the official inauguration of the Dalí Theatre-Museum on 28 September 1974. One of the most noticeable features of the museum, the transparent reticular-shape like a geodesic dome that crowns the building, was entrusted by Salvador Dalí to the Murcian architect Emilio Pérez Piñero (1935-1972). That dome has now become the emblem of the Theatre-Museum and a great icon for the city of Figueres.

 

The various collections of the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí include all types of works of art: paintings, drawings, sculptures, engravings, installations, holograms, stereoscopes, photography, etc. Of them, some 1,500 are on exhibition at the Museum.

The museum consists of three clearly differentiated museum areas offering the visitors an unguided and personal route across  the various galleries:

1) The Theatre-Museum as such, refurbished from the old fire-damaged municipal theatre, converted into the Theatre-Museum based on the criteria and design of Salvador Dalí himself. This part of the museum forms a unique artistic object in which each element is an inseparable part of the whole.

2) The group of galleries resulting from the progressive extensions of the Theatre-Museum, in which Dalí's personal intervention is superficial or non-existent. These galleries contain many works from the artist's legacy-  stereoscopic works, installations, and  anamorphisms-, as well as the Foundation's new acquisitions.

3) The Dalí·Jewels exhibition rooms, inaugurated in 2001, which contain the thirty-seven gold jewels and precious stones from the former Owen Cheatham collection, in addition to two jewels made later and the prior designs made by the painter. 


Aside from Salvador Dalí's works, there are  works by other artists that  the painter invited  to be exhibited  in his museum, such as Antoni Pitxot and Evarist Vallès, accompanied by other artists from the painter's own private collection, such as El Greco, Marià Fortuny, Modest Urgell, Ernest Meissonier, Marcel Duchamp, Gerard Dou and Bouguereau. In various galleries of the Theatre-Museum we can also find works by John de Andrea, Wolf Vostell, Meifrén and Ernst Fuchs. Since  Salvador Dalí death in 1989, the crypt where he is buried  can also be visited at the centre of the museum. This area was remodelled in 1997 to exhibit a collection of gold jewels designed by the artist. 


The museum is not to be missed, and any trip through Cataluñia should include a visit to this magnificent, unique work of art.



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2 Comments


MANXMONKEY said:
02 March 2019 @ 05:19

Wow. Thanks for the article. I am amazed I had no idea about this. It's a shame it's so far North for us Snowbirds but maybe a drive through on our next circuitous trip to the UK is called for.


Ziggyflower said:
02 March 2019 @ 09:23

I visited nearly twenty years ago now, I would certainly go back. We crossed the border from our holiday hotel in France and had the most wonderful day out. Every twist and turn brought new gasps of 'OMG,look at that!'. Most definitely worth a visit.


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