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ST. PETE DALI MUSEUM

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The Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, opened on January 11, 2011. The museum houses the largest collection of his art in the world, outside of Spain.

Salvador Dali
Salvador Dali
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater

Sculptures and drawings

Twice the size of the Dali Museum that opened in St. Pete Fl in March 1982, it holds 2,300 pieces of Dali art, including eight master works, measuring more than five feet.

According to Hank Hine, Executive Director, Salvador Dali was not a prolific painter. "Besides his paintings, we display Dali sculptures and drawings in a separate gallery on the third floor," says Dr. Hine. "Dali also made films, which we showcase."

Oil paintings

The museum has 25% of the paintings by Salvador Dali (96 oil paintings). The Spain Dali Museum has another 25%. The remaining Dali paintings are held in private collections.

Dali painting - The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory
Dali painting - The Disintegration of Persistence of Memory
Courtesy Salvador Dali Museum

Famous Salvador Dali paintings in the museum include Hallucinogenic Toreador and Slave Market with the Disappearing Bust of Voltaire. You also see the melting Dali clock in The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory.

Three elevators and an elliptical staircase lead to the Dali Gallery on the third floor. The archival library and offices are on the second floor.

Enigma art gallery

The St. Petersburg Fl building housing the Salvador Dali art gallery is itself a work of art. Designed by Yann Weymouth, the Enigma can withstand 165 mile per hour winds.

The appearance of the Dali Enigma evolved from considering what Dali would do with the 75-foot-high concrete box. Yann Weymouth broke it open in the middle to insert a geodesic glass structure, with a contoured steel and concrete staircase inside.

Exterior of the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida
Exterior of the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida
Courtesy Salvador Dali Museum

Made from more than 1,062 different sized glass triangles, the diamond-like lattice wraps around the St. Pete Enigma like a Dali clock. The blue glass panels offer unique views of the St. Petersburg waterfront.

On the east side, a garden features florist displays with olive trees. It also has a box-hedge labyrinth, where you can meander.

Cost of the Dali Enigma was $36 million. "The three-floor building price of $4,000 per square meter makes the St. Pete Dali Museum one of the least expensive great museum buildings in the world," says Hank Hine.

Morse collection

The Dali collection was started in Cleveland by a just-married couple. A. Reynolds Morse and his wife, Eleanor, collected Salvador Dali artwork while it was being created, from the 1940s to the 1980s.

In 1942, they bought Dali's canvas, Daddy Longlegs of the Evening-Hope, painted only two years earlier. It depicts the desolation and chaos of World War ll with a weeping angel and trees devoid of leaves. It also has a Daddy Longlegs spider, which is a sign of hope in Catalan culture.

 Spiral helix stairwell
Spiral helix stairwell
Courtesy Salvador Dali Museum

A. Reynolds and Eleanor Morse used their industrial firm fortune to buy Dali art for more than 40 years. They became friends with Salvador Dali and his wife, Gala.

"The Morses compiled the most important collection of a single artist in the late 20th century," says Hank Hines. The value of the Morse Dali collection is inestimable.

When Eleanor and A. Reynolds Morse did their estate planning in the 1980s, they offered their collection to the Met and the Myers Art Museum in Cleveland, but the art museums wanted to pick and choose only selected pieces of Dali art. The Morses said: "No. All the Dali artwork goes as a unit."

Wall Street Journal published an article entitled The Art World Dilly Dallies over the Dali. It was read by the mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida, who invited the Morses to St. Pete.

Eleanor Reese Morse and her husband liked the beautiful beaches and the town, so they decided to give their collection to the city of St. Pete. The St. Petersburg foundation still operates the Dali Museum.

Gift shop souvenirs

The museum has an indoor/outdoor Gala Café and a gift shop where you can buy Dali posters, prints and other Dali souvenirs.

The shop is located on the first floor, just inside the entrance. The Gala Café, ticket counter and a 96-seat theater are also located on the first floor.

The Dali Museum address is One Dali Boulevard, St. Petersburg, Fl 33701. It is located eight blocks north of the original location.

Free tours

For information on free guided tours, opening hours, admission prices, exhibits, driving directions and venue rental, visit their website or call 727-823-3767, the Salvador Dali museum phone number.

The museum website also provides schedules for Dali lectures, films, concerts and education programs for adults and children.


TRAVEL INFORMATION

Salvador Dali Museum: www.thedali.org

St. Petersburg/Clearwater Area CVB: www.VisitStPeteClearwater.com

Visit Florida: www.visitflorida.com

More things to see and do in the St. Petersburg-Clearwater & Tampa area:

Tarpon Springs - Greek Food, Sponges, Festivals

Caladesi Island State Park - Beaches, Birding, Hiking and Kayaking

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay - Caring for Baby Animals

Tampa Florida Museum Exhibit Blows You Away