An enduring friendship helped make the Salvador Dali Museum possible
[Photo courtesy of the Dalí Museum; Interactive: Lennie Bennett, Lee Glynn | Times]
Salvador Dalí and museum founders Reynolds and Eleanor Morse photographed in 1943.
It was back in 1943 that A. Reynolds Morse and his wife, Eleanor, first began collecting Salvador Dalí paintings. The first was a wedding gift to each other, purchased after they had seen a show by Dalí at the Cleveland Museum of Art. The couple continued, methodically collecting Dalí works over the next 40 years. As they did, the Morses forged a long-time friendship with Salvador Dalí and his wife, Gala.
In the late 1970s, they decided to donate their Dalí collection, which by then totaled about 1,400 works, including 93 paintings, to a museum. But their stipulation that it be kept intact deterred major museums from acquiring it. St. Petersburg, though, saw the potential in having a shrine to the surrealist’s work.
It turned out to be a good match. The Morses were won over by the proposed site, which reminded them of Dalí’s native Catalonia with its sea and rocks.
In 1982, the museum opened in the southern portion of downtown St. Petersburg, with its Dalí signature as one of its bold architectural statements. Visitors the world over flocked to see the surrealism in Dalí’s paintings: Eggs on the Plate Without the Plate, The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory, Lobster Telephone.
The Morses eventually bought a house in St. Petersburg and continued to nurture Dali’s legacy as the museum’s stature grew in the art world.
Now a new and bolder Salvador Dalí Museum has risen along the picturesque waterfront. And the Morses and Salvador Dalí are again in the art world spotlight. Take a journey in this special presentation as we present the story of an enduring friendship and a dream realized.
- March 10, 2002
20 years of celebration
In 1980, almost no one thought St. Petersburg was the place for a museum to house an extensive private collection of Salvador Dalí’s works. Twenty years after it opened, the Dalí Museum has come of age.
- March 7, 2002
The persistence of Dalí
In a coup for the Salvador Dalí Museum, The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory is joined for three months by The Persistence of Memory, on loan from the Museum of Modern Art.
- Feb. 11, 2007
Dalí’s baroque heart
The exhibit "Dalí and the Spanish Baroque" shows the influence of earlier paintings by the Old Masters of his Spanish homeland and his journey from tradition to a style all his own.
- Feb. 17, 2008
At Dalí Museum, surrealism can't keep still
The exhibition “Dalí & Film” shows how seamlessly the artist's symbols transfer from canvas to film and back again.
- Dec. 18, 2005
The Dalí effect
"Pollock to Pop: America's Brush with Dalí" juxtaposes works by de Kooning, Lichtenstein, Rosenquist, Warhol, Pollock, Claes Oldenburg, Chuck Close and Mark Rothko, which clarifies the connection the surrealist had with these modernists - and they with him.
- April 11, 2010
Inspirations/art in focus: Early Salvador Dalí: The Basket of Bread, 1926, oil on wood panel, 12.5 by 12.5 inches.
It is of a common thing, bread, sliced and partly eaten. Dalí would say much later that it was one of his oldest fetishistic themes. He did use bread in several other major paintings in which the Eucharistic associations are more pronounced. But probably, in his youth, he mostly wanted to show his mastery of a subject and style. And at age 22, he did.
- Aug. 14, 2005
Inspirations/art in focus: Salvador Dalí’s Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea which at Twenty Meters Becomes a Portrait of Abraham Lincoln, 1976, oil on canvas, 75.5 by 99.25 inches.
Squint. Suddenly, the nude woman gazing out a window becomes a portrait of . . . Abraham Lincoln! Salvador Dalí loved pranks, and here he plays a trick on our eyes and minds. But why juxtapose a bare backside and a great American president? Read on.
- Dec. 14, 2008
Mythological tales helped shape Dalí’s surrealism
"Myth in Dalí’s Art" at the Salvador Dalí Museum examines the personal mythology the Spanish surrealist developed as he matured, using examples from the permanent collection rearranged by curator Joan Kropf.
- Dec. 5, 2008
Officials say new Dalí Museum will open in 2011
Salvador Dalí Museum director Hank Hine and museum trustee David Dyer are unequivocal about staying the course set by the trustees when they voted to begin building a new $35 million home for the Spanish surrealist's work on the downtown waterfront near the Mahaffey Theater.
- Aug. 16, 2000
A. Reynolds Morse, co-founder of Salvador Dalí Museum, dies at 85
- July 3, 2010
Eleanor Morse, co-founder of Salvador Dalí Museum, dies at 97