Dalí Up Close

September 27, 2014 to January 25, 2015

Salvador Dalí, Madonna of Port Lligat, 1948, Collection of the Haggerty Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Ira Haupt, 59.9. ©Salvador Dali, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí/ SODRAC (2014)

Dalí Up Close asks audiences to consider what it was that made Salvador Dali the complex paragon of modern art he is remembered as today. Was it his accomplished draughtsmanship, his disturbing penchant for surreal juxtaposition, a combination of idiosyncratic personality and savvy self-promotion, or some mixture of it all?

Alongside Masterworks from the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, toward further celebrating Dalí’s debut in Winnipeg, the WAG will be mounting an exhibition showcasing two distinct aspects of the Surrealist master. It will include a pair of canvases on loan from major North American institutions, each representing different periods in Dalí’s career: an early Surrealist painting completed prior to 1950, and a later work indicative of his so-called “Classical” period. Secondly, the Gallery has entered negotiations toward securing the loan of some 30 photographs of the artist taken in collaboration with the well-known photographer Philippe Halsman in the early 1950s. In addition to being iconic themselves, these photographs underscore Dali’s savvy management of self-image, and anticipate both Pop and contemporary Performance art. Overall, this second exhibition will explore the artist’s use of unexpected juxtapositions to achieve disarming results.

Dalí's canvases are universally recognizable for collapsing one object into an unrelated other, toying with the representation of scale, and inserting nightmarish improbabilities into otherwise pristinely composed landscapes. This exhibition's focal point will be Dalí's 1949, Madonna of Port Lligat, the painting that initiated the so-called "Nuclear Mysticism" period of his career that lasted until his death in 1989.

“We are thrilled to debut Dalí’s paintings in Winnipeg, and offer everyone the chance to experience the inimitable Santiago El Grande and other works by this modern master,” says Director & CEO of the WAG, Stephen Borys. “Famously immodest, Dalí himself referred to the 1957 work as the greatest painting since Raphael, and Winnipeggers will see why this fall at the WAG. Without question Santiago El Grande is the one of most celebrated works by Dalí in the world – and you really need to see it in person to understand why.”

Dalí Up Close will also include a rare selection of jewelry designed by Dalí, his preparatory painting for Hitchcock's psychological drama Spellbound (1945), a drawing he created for an illustrated version of Shakespeare's Macbeth, and much more.

An exhibition catalogue will accompany Dalí Up Close, with a feature essay by Dr. Elliott King, a renowned Dalí scholar who also contributed to the Masterworks of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery exhibition catalogue.

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