The Salvador Dalí Museum pictured in 2011
|Location||St. Petersburg, Florida, U.S.|
|Structural Engineer||Walter P. Moore & Associates Inc.|
The Salvador Dalí Museum is an art museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, United States, dedicated to the works of Salvador Dalí. It houses the largest collection of Dalí's works outside Europe. It is located on the downtown St. Petersburg waterfront by 5th Avenue Southeast, Bay Shore Drive, and Dan Wheldon Way. On April 18, 2012, the AIA's Florida Chapter placed the building on its list of Florida Architecture: 100 Years. 100 Places.
Shortly before marrying in 1942, Reynolds and Eleanor Morse attended a Dalí retrospective at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Intrigued by the artist's subject matter, and impressed by his draftsmanship, they bought their first painting a year later. This purchase began a 40-year relationship as patrons and friends of Dalí that resulted in a comprehensive collection of original Dalí work.
Until 1971, the Morses displayed their collection in their Cleveland, Ohio, home. When they loaned over 200 pieces to a Dalí retrospective in 1965, they realized that 25 years of collecting produced a mini-retrospective that needed a permanent home.
In March 1971, with Salvador Dalí presiding over the opening, the Morses opened a museum adjacent to their office building in Beachwood, Ohio. By the end of the decade with an overwhelming number of visitors, the Morses decided to again move their collection.
After a drawn out search which drew national attention, a marine warehouse in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida was rehabilitated and the museum opened on March 7, 1982.
In mid-2008, a new location for the Dali museum was announced. Designed by Yann Weymouth of the architectural firm HOK and built by The Beck Group under the leadership of then-CEO Henry C. Beck III, it was built on the downtown waterfront next to the Mahaffey Theater, on the former site of the Bayfront Center, an arena which had been demolished in 2004.
The new, larger and more storm-secure museum opened on January 11, 2011.
Reportedly costing over $30 million, the surrealism-inspired structure features a large glass entryway and skylight made of 1.5 inch thick glass. Referred to as the "Enigma", the glass entryway is 75 feet tall and encompasses a spiral staircase. The remaining walls are composed of 18-inch thick concrete, designed to protect the collection from hurricanes.
The museum's collection includes 96 oil paintings, over 100 watercolors and drawings, 1,300 graphics, photographs, sculptures and objets d'art, and an extensive archival library. The Museum Library contains over 7,000 volumes, exhibition and sale catalogs, video, sound recordings, and special collections related to Dalí's life, Surrealism, and the Avant-garde. The library also holds the donated collection of Albert Field, New York collector and Dalí archivist. Permanent collection displays are periodically rotated, and several temporary shows are mounted each year.
The museum is home to 7 of the 18 "masterwork" paintings by Dalí (including The Hallucinogenic Toreador and The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus), the most of any museum in the world. To be considered a masterwork these paintings must measure at least 5 feet (1.5 m) in any direction, and have been worked on for over a year.
In addition to displaying the work of Dalí, the museum aims to educate the public and promote understanding, enjoyment and scholarly examination of art through the exhibition of works by Dalí and artists of similar vision.
With the exception of the Dalí Theater-Museum created by Dalí himself in his home town of Figueres, Catalonia, St. Petersburg's Dalí Museum has the world's largest collections of Dalí's works.