During a recent trip to Dunedin, Florida, I found a local publication that showed nearby events. One was a special Picasso art exhibit at the Dalí Museum in St. Pete. I could not wait to explore the museum and see it for myself.
I arrived at the museum during a local boat show, which made for difficult parking, but the town was labeled thoroughly with signs directing me to the museum. The museum itself is enormous and very aesthetically pleasing, and bonus, it is right on the waterfront. It was designed by architect Yann Weymouth “combining rational with fantastical”. Caution, there are some renovations on the outside of the museum.
Salvador Dalí, 1904-1989, was born in Fuegeres, Spain and was professionally trained in art, including studying under Picasso. Dalí joined the Surrealist Movement in 1929 and painted many subjects based solely on his imagination. He rose to great stardom in the art industry around the world. Dalí is most recognized for his upturned waxed pencil thin mustache. He spent his time between Europe and the United States and painted over 1500 pieces throughout his life.
The Dalí museum provides you with a free audio guide or there are scheduled guided tours throughout the day. I thought that was a nice touch. The beautiful art galleries are located on the third floor of the museum and half of the gallery, devoted to the touring display of Picasso items, does not allow photography. The rest of the museum is photo-friendly. The staircase connecting floors is “helical” due to Dalí’s fascination with spirals and the shape of the DNA module. Get your camera ready- it is spectacular! From the third floor, one can see through the “enigma”, the free-form glass bubble overlooking the waterfront and the gardens.
I was really impressed with the amount of work that went into displaying all these beautiful pieces. The museum was very crowded, which was surprising considering it was a weekday. Many of the works on display are from rarely owned collections and have been acquired from numerous different sources. The exhibit draws on the rivalries and greatness of both artists, Dalí and Picasso. Some of my favorite permanent pieces were “Eggs on the Plate Without the Plate”, “Girl with Curls”, “Portrait of my Dead Brother”, and “The Ecumenical Council”.
Before you leave the museum, I recommend you trying some of the Spanish foods from Cafe Gala, named for Salvador Dalí’s wife. Their menu consists of tapas, soups, pastries, salads, and sandwiches. Drinks include beer, wine, soda, water, and coffees. There is indoor seating as well as an outdoor patio. I tried the Caldo Gallego soup (Spanish ham and white bean) and it was scrumptious, paired nicely with some buttered bread. A well-stocked gift shop is also on the premises and offers an interesting collection of fun gifts such as books, posters, clothing, tarot cards, puzzles, and art supplies.
Entrance to the museum is $24 per adult and museum hours are 10-5:30 daily, but they have extended hours until 8 PM on Thursdays and Fridays. Thursdays after 5, the museum offers a discounted entrance fee of $10. The Picasso/Dali, Dali/Picasso event runs through February 16,2015.