Visits to the Dali museum in Figueres and to Dali’s house in Cadaques grew my appreciation for the artist. Previously, I’d regarded him as a bit of a niche artist, darling of the acid-trippers, but otherwise a one-trick pony.
Some of the standouts:
- The many works he’s done in which he copies (parodies?) the styles of other artists. Perhaps it was practice and educational for him to try each style, but to see paintings in the style of Picasso, Matisse, Bosch, Van Gogh, Serat, Escher, rooms in the style of Versailles, all with a slightly surrealist twist seemed instead to say "I could do that!"
- The optical illusions and stereopticons were a joy. Kneeling down and staring into a mirror that allowed you to merge two nearly identical paintings into a third, or standing 3 meters and 9 meters away from a giant abstraction and see it melt into a tiger or "3 Lenins disguised as Chinese" or the paintings that were made to be viewed as a reflection in a round, silver bottle all positively made me giggle.
- The diversity of his work: paintings, drawings, kinetic sculptures, jewelry, holograms, and on and on…
- The room (not by Dali himself, but in homage) in which you walked to the top of a staircase and looked down and suddenly the couch and paintings and other furniture merged into a perfect face (of Mae West), framed by a gigantic wig.
- At his house, we saw that he always painted sitting down, and had rigged an easel that allowed him to lower a painting into the floor so he could reach the top.
The stroll to Dali’s house through the old, peaceful little sea town of Cadaques (where we stayed for a couple days) was a warm, relaxing morning and put us in the mood to have to have a bit of fun once there. See if you can spot it.
Yay Dali! Yay Dali!