Sunshine Surrealism: St. Petersburg Opens New Salvador Dalí Museum

by  Molly Fergus | Jan 27, 2011
The Dali Museum
The Dali Museum / Sean Pavone / iStock

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One of the world’s largest collections of Salvador Dalí’s work finally moved into a home befitting its stature.

The sleek new Salvador Dalí Museum, which opened January 11 in St. Petersburg, Florida, was designed by Yann Weymouth of Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum. Overlooking Tampa Bay, the structure marries solid concrete with twisting geodesic glass reminiscent of the Louvre’s pyramid. (Indeed, Weymouth worked with I.M. Pei on that Paris landmark.)

The structure houses some 2,140 pieces; most were acquired by A. Reynolds and Eleanor Morse, an Ohio couple who befriended Salvador and Gala Dalí in the 1940s. For decades the couple displayed hundreds of works in their Cleveland home and then in nearby Beachwood, Ohio, before donating the collection in 1982. The cache landed in a converted one-story warehouse, the first incarnation of the St. Pete museum.

The new building (double the size and eight blocks away) features an extensive range of works created by the artist from 1917 to 1970, and counts early Impressionist and Cubist pieces among them. The 96 oil paintings include such blockbusters as The Hallucinogenic Toreador and The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory with the artist’s trademark melting clocks.

The opening celebration was staged in a similarly dramatic fashion: Infanta Cristina, a daughter of Spain’s king and queen, presided over a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11:11am on January 11, 2011.

From the Smart Luxury Awards issue of Smart Luxury Travel magazine by

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