A Dis­cov­ery of DALÍ

Where Paris - - Arts& Attractions -

It was back in 1991 that a venue opened up in Mont­martre show­cas­ing a pri­vate col­lec­tion of some 300 works, sculp­tures, en­grav­ings, ob­jects and fur­nish­ings by Sal­vador Dalí of­fer­ing a unique glimpse into the work and world of the Sur­re­al­ist sculp­tor, de­signer, en­graver and il­lus­tra­tor. Dalí Paris re-opened its doors to the pub­lic last April of­fer­ing a new jour­ney into the world of the artist and en­abling the pub­lic to dis­cover the art dealer and col­lec­tor, Be­ni­amino Levi, who as­sem­bled the col­lec­tion, which re­mains the only per­ma­nent ex­hi­bi­tion in France, de­voted to Dalí, the mas­ter of Sur­re­al­ism.

Be­ni­amino Levi, an em­i­nent Ital­ian gallery owner started putting the col­lec­tion to­gether in the 1970s. Upon re­turn­ing to Mi­lan af­ter the Sec­ond World War, he fre­quented ac­tors in the ef­fer­ves­cent artis­tic scene, no­tably Lu­cio Fon­tana and Al­berto Burri and be­came friends with the art critic Franco Pas­soni with whom he opened the Gal­le­ria Levi in Mi­lan. He first met Dalí in 1974 in his suite at the Meurice ho­tel where Dalí and his wife Gala resided dur­ing their Parisian so­journs. Levi would first pur­chase two paint­ings, the 1932 Egg on the Dish with­out the Dish and The In­vis­i­ble Harp done in 1934, which he ex­hib­ited in his gallery in Mi­lan. Af­ter ad­di­tional en­coun­ters in Paris, New York and Dalí’s home in Cadaquès in Spain, the col­lec­tor launched into a new chal­lenge, edit­ing the sculp­tures of Dalí and he would pro­gres­sively ac­quire the rights to 29 images taken from the artist’s most cel­e­brated paint­ings in­clud­ing the Per­sis­tence of Mem­ory, the Temp­ta­tion of Saint An­thony and The Burn­ing Gi­raffe, giv­ing him the pos­si­bil­ity of hav­ing bronzes made from mod­els con­ceived by the artist. The bronze sculp­tures of th­ese images were cast in Switzer­land at the leg­endary Perseo Foundry, which casts the work of Al­berto Gi­a­cometti and Fer­nando Botero.

To­day, Dalí Paris, which has been given a re­design by the ar­chi­tect and scenog­ra­pher Ade­line Ris­pal of­fers a me­an­der through the artist’s works and al­lows the vis­i­tor to em­bark on a non-ex­haus­tive jour­ney into the artis­tic path taken by Dalí and re­veal­ing a not so well known seg­ment of his work while putting the spot­light on his tech­nique and cre­ativ­ity. The mu­seum seg­ways into a gallery and while the mu­seum presents rare sculp­tures, the gallery of­fers th­ese works in dif­fer­ent sizes and pati­nas for col­lec­tors in lim­ited edi­tions.

The venue also hosts ex­hibits de­voted to con­tem­po­rary artists and lit­tle known as­pects of Dalí’s work in a ded­i­cated gallery space. The cur­rent ex­hi­bi­tion fea­tures two lit­er­ary themes with Dalí Paris pay­ing trib­ute to the French Sur­re­al­ist poet Guil­laume Apol­li­naire, who died 100 years ago, with an ex­hi­bi­tion putting a con­tem­po­rary spot­light on his Poèmes Se­crets (Se­cret Po­ems), which were il­lus­trated by Dalí. The 21 dry­points on cop­per that Dalí made for the opera Faust in the ver­sion trans­lated by Gérard de Ner­val are be­ing pre­sented in a pared down and mod­ern dis­play. - P.V.

Dalí Paris 11 rue Poul­bot (18th), 01 42 64 40 10

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