Dalí Up Close

September 27, 2014 to January 25, 2015

Salvador Dalí, The Persistence of Memory, 1974. Lithograph and gouache. Salvador Dalí Society. ©The Salvador Dalí Society

Salvador Dalí, The God of the Bay of Roses, 1944. Oil on canvas. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Gift of the Estate of Hildegarde Graham van Roijen. © Salvador Dali, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí/SODRAC (2014).

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What was it about Salvador Dalí that made him the complex paragon of modern art that he is remembered as today? Was it his accomplished draughtsmanship, his disturbing penchant for surreal juxtaposition, a combination of idiosyncratic personality and self-promotion, or some mixture of it all?

Alongside Masterworks from the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, toward further celebrating Dalí’s debut in Winnipeg, Dalí Up Close showcases two distinct aspects of the Surrealist master. The exhibition includes 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 exhibition features some 30 of the celebrated photographs produced with 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. Dalí Up Close explores 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. The exhibition's focal point is 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.

Dalí Up Close also includes a rare selection of jewellery 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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