ST. PETERSBURG — Leaders at the Dalí Museum have been hoping for several years to bring in an exhibition of works by Pablo Picasso, considered by many to be greatest artist of the 20th century. It seems that the hope will become a reality, possibly in late fall.
Invitations have been sent to national arts and travel editors to a "cocktail reception hosted by the Dalí Museum and the Museu Picasso Barcelona . . . in concert with Visit St. Pete/Clearwater." The event is March 20 at the Stanford White Studio at the Lambs Club, an upscale New York restaurant. At that time, "the Dalí Museum director Hank Hine, and Museu Picasso Barcelona director Bernardo Laniado-Romero will announce an international collaboration and landmark exhibition."
So an obvious conclusion is that a deal has been struck with the Barcelona museum for the Dalí to borrow paintings from its collection, one of the most extensive in the world of works by the modern Spanish artist. The Dalí Museum has the most comprehensive collection of works by the Spanish surrealist who was a contemporary (but not really a friend) of Picasso.
Officials at the Dalí were unable to comment because they planned to provide all information at the New York event. If a large Picasso show does come to the Dalí, it would be the first in the Tampa Bay area. Another extensive Picasso show went to the Naples Museum of Art in 2008. Large shows of his work are rare at all but major international museums because shipping and insurance costs can be high.
This year will be a big one for the Dalí if Picasso pans out. The museum currently has a major survey of works by iconic pop artist Andy Warhol through April 27.
The Dalí and Museu Picasso seem a good fit for a collaboration. Both permanent collections are made up of works by 20th century Spanish artists. The Dalí Museum, which opened in St. Petersburg in 1982 and moved to its waterfront location in 2011, began with the permanent collection of Reynolds and Eleanor Morse, two individual collectors. The Picasso museum, which opened in 1963, is also based on a private collection, that of Picasso's friend Jaime Sabartés.
Lennie Bennett can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8293.