A Visit to “The Dali Museum” in St. Petersburg, Florida

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By JP Chartier

A visit to “The Dali Museum” in St. Petersburg, Florida, USA is your chance at a glimpse into the strange and mysterious world that is Salvador Dali. The late, great Spanish surrealist lived an enigmatic lifestyle which he cryptically conveyed in his creations – 2,100 of which are housed here.

The Dali Museum has its roots firmly set in the family collection of Reynolds & Elenore Morse. The couple began collecting Dali paintings shortly after they were married back in 1943, and continued collecting Dali’s art for the next four decades, which ultimately culminated in the creation of this museum.

Located at 1 Dali Blvd in the perpetually sunny St. Petersburg, Florida – the Dali Museum finds itself nestled snuggly alongside the beautiful and picturesque shoreline of the Tampa Bay looking like a building in the midst of an intense acid trip! The contrast provided by the surrounding beauty of the shoreline and the surrealist flavor of the building comes across as almost comical at first, but entertaining none the less, and very Dali-like. I just wish they’d paint the damn thing!

The odd-looking building isn’t hard to spot, architect Yann Weymouth made sure of that by designing the building with 18-inch thick hurricane-proof walls out of which explodes a large free-form geodesic glass bubble known as the “enigma” – which seems to be devouring the building. The “enigma,” is made up of 1,062 triangular pieces of glass, and at its highest point stands a towering 75 feet, and serves as homage to the dome that adorns Dali’s original museum in Spain.

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Dali Museum, St.Pete, Fl

On the third floor, the Dali houses over 2,100 works, which include 96 oil paintings, spanning the entirety of his career (1904-1989). It is the second largest collection of Dali’s work in the world, only behind that of the “Dali Theatre & Museum” located in his hometown of  Figueras, GIRONA, Spain, which he helped construct. He lived in the museum for the last few years of his life, and is even buried there!

You’ll need to set aside about 3 hours in order to see everything that’s inside and outside of the museum. However, true Dali enthusiasts will want to put aside some extra time so they can really absorb the experience and examine the paintings up close and personal.

You see, a Dali painting isn’t just a painting mind you, if you really look you’ll find brilliantly hidden pictures inside of the picture, and all of his works have meanings attached to them too. So do yourself a favor and take a tour with one of the knowledgeable tour guides, or use a headset, both of which are free, to help guide you with your journey through the museum.

Link to the paintings that are part of the permanent collection  http://thedali.org/exhibits/permanent-collection/

Once inside the gallery, I stare in joyous confusion, albeit with the utmost reverence, at the famous images before me. I imagine the maestro himself sitting restlessly in his favorite chair in front of this very painting, meticulously arranging the paint into the scenes now before my eyes. What an experience it must have been to have witnessed the creation of such art.

Link to a fantastic video about the life of Dali called ” The Life and Art of Salvador Dali – http://youtu.be/GONauCKYj0s

It’s one thing to see a painting in a book, and yet quite another to see it in person. For me, the experience was almost religious in nature. The paintings that I have admired for all these years from afar in various magazines and books were now hanging right before me, only an arm’s length away! To say that I felt lucky was an understatement.

Also inside you’ll find a small cafe named after Dali’s wife, Gala where you can enjoy some light Spanish fare and down a couple of brews to help get you in the mood!

Outside @ the Dali Museum

Dolphin outside Dali Museum

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Wish Tree @ Dali Museum

Before you leave be sure to write a wish on the back of your wristband and tie it to a branch of “The Dali Wish Tree” (pictured above)

 

Ticket prices are $21 USD Adult, Seniors $19, Teens $17, Children $7, Parking $5

So the next time you visit Florida, be sure to include a trip to The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, and get your “freak” on! You’ll be glad you did.

If you have visited the Dali Theatre & Museum in Spain I would love to hear from you in the comments below.

What’s your favorite Dali painting? Mine is the “Geopoliticus Child Watching The Birth Of The New Man” which resides at this museum.

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“I don’t do drugs, I am drugs!”  -Salvador Dali

All pictures taken by JP Chartier except the last two.

 

 

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24 thoughts on “A Visit to “The Dali Museum” in St. Petersburg, Florida

  1. nice work! When I think of Dali all I really think of is melting clocks, but thats a big impression none the less. If I ever get to Florida (I was in an airport there once) this would definitely be something I’d love to visit!

    • Thank you! The melting clocks painting was actually the first painting purchased by the Morse’s back in 1943 and is a staple at the museum. Check out some of his other work, the guy was amazing!

  2. Great write up of the Dali Museum. I was just there in early January. One thing that really amazed me is the work from Dali’s early career and from when he was in art school before he got all surreal. You really got a glimpse from these works how talented he really was. You could tell that whatever style he wanted to paint, he could have been a master. It is no wonder then that he decided to break ground and create a whole new genre. People this talented do not just recreate other people’s styles.

    • I was blown away by some of his earlier work too, a wonderful landscape, one of a girl turning to look at you and the bread basket are just a few off the top of my head that I can think of. I loved his full wall paintings too.

  3. J.P

    Excellent. Work man! Well written and answered every question that I asked in my head.
    Looks like a pretty amazing spot. I’m putting it on my to do list for sure.
    This post should be sold to a magazine. Fits the format perfect.
    Pictures are amazing as well. Thanks for sharing

  4. I Love Dali! Haven’t been to one his museums unfortunately, but they seem worth visiting :). Great write-up!

    • Hi Isabella, if you’re in the Tampa/St.Petersburg area, I’d stop by and give it a look, you can do half a day there, then the other half down the street at the Museum of Fine Arts. Begin your day with Dali and end it with Renoir!

  5. I have been to the one in Spain 3 times and love it. But I loved reading yours because I moved to Florida about 6 months ago and haven’t been to the one in St. Pete yet. Here’s a quite irreverent post I wrote about Dali’s life based on what our guide told us. He had a few “issues”! I put the link to my post in my info because I couldn’t put it in the comments.

    • Hi, I would stop by the St. Pete museum and check it out if your nearby, but from what I’ve seen in videos and pictures the Dali Theatre & Museum in Spain is Dali in grand form! A must see

  6. I haven’t visited The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, but I have been to the Dali Theatre & Museum in Spain. I was amazed and surprised by the volume and breadth of his work. He covered many genres and was quite prolific. There were also many oddities in the museum. In the Mae West room, a lip-shaped sofa, a nostril-like shelf/sculpture, and two paintings on the wall combine to create an image of Mae West. There was an atrium with gargoyles and golden statues of women adorning the ivy-covered walls. In the center, a black Cadillac with a mannequin driver resembling Elvis Presley. You need several hours to take in everything at the museum and it can be exhausting.because every piece of art has so much to take in.

    • Hello Donna, thanks for your comment. I can imagine how exhausting a visit to the museum in Spain would be, I would have to split it up over several visits to really be able to soak it all in. I will one day make it to Spain to visit the museum there, it’s on my bucket list 🙂 I love the beating heart he made out of precious stones, amazing!

  7. Great post! Informative and also personal. I’ve never been to the Dali museum but now I want to go! Which painting did you find to be the most moving to see in real life?

    • Thank you Lacy! The work of his that moved me most would have to be “The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus,” this painting is huge it covers a whole wall! And it has hidden pictures within the painting and special meanings attached to them. You really need someone to explain whats going on to really appreciate it.

  8. Great post! I love Dali and his museum in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain is a real treat! You should definitely check it out if you have the chance.
    Fascinating blog, by the way! Thanks for connecting with us on Twitter! Keep up the great work and travel safe!

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