'Salvador Dalí: Gardens of the Mind' Explores the Surrealist Master's Work Through a Botanical Garden Lens

  • SARASOTA, Florida
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  • January 08, 2020

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Rosa, Flordalí (Flor Dalinae), Salvador Dalí, 1968. Photo Lithography with drypoint etching. Collection of The Dalí Museum, St Petersburg, FL (USA) 2019; © Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, (ARS), 2019

Salvador Dalí: Gardens of the Mind opens February 2020 at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida

Partnership with The Dalí Museum and photographer Clyde Butcher provides playful examination of nature’s influence on the legendary Surrealist

The natural world fascinated Surrealist sensation Salvador Dalí (1904-1989). From Feb. 9-June 28, 2020, Salvador Dalí: Gardens of the Mind will showcase mind-bending floral artworks, anchored by his fantastical series of color lithographs, Flordalí, at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida.

Boat with Cypress Tree, Dalí’s Port Lliga House Photo Credit: Courtesy of Clyde Butcher, St. Armands Gallery, Sarasota, Florida

Salvador Dalí: Gardens of the Mind will explore Dalí’s work through the lens of a botanical garden, illuminating how nature played a vital role in his art,” says Jennifer Rominiecki, president and CEO of Selby Gardens. “We look forward to welcoming our guests into a world inspired by Dalí’s imagination, where the playful and unexpected take center stage.”

Flordali, a rarely seen and little-known body of work by the artist, features flowers unlike any in nature” observes Dr. Carol Ockman, curator at large. “These whimsical works provide a unique entry into Dali’s Surrealist legacy, highlighting the enduring presence of his beloved Catalonian landscape as well as his debts to historic botanical illustrations and Renaissance perspective.”

Known for his artistic virtuosity, flamboyant mustache and bravura showmanship, Dalí spent his childhood in Figueres, Spain, and at the family's summer home in the coastal fishing village of Cadaqués. In later years he would live with his wife, Gala, in nearby Port Lligat. His famous spectral vistas consistently conjure this region in northeastern Spain.  

Flordalí (1968), on loan from The Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, offers a series of outlandish blooms: a rose sprouts butterfly wings instead of leaves; a lily’s similarity to a horn-shaped gramophone generates a music-themed composition; a common dahlia morphs into a unicorn. Artifacts and photos that foreground Dalí’s life, work and relationship to nature will also be on view, along with several Dalí works on loan from the collection of Sarasota resident Keith D. Monda.

Dubbed the “next Ansel Adams” (Popular Photography, 2004), for his dramatic black and white photographs of pristine American landscapes, photographer Clyde Butcher traveled to Spain in 2017 at the request of the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. He visited the village of Cadaqués, where Dalí spent childhood summers, Dalí’s house in Port Lligat and the rugged region of Cap de Creus – all areas that feature prominently in Dalí’s works. Photographs from the resulting Visions of Dalí’s Spain series will also be on view as part of Gardens of the Mind.

Selby Gardens’ Salvador Dalí: Gardens of the Mind horticultural display.

Selby Gardens’ outdoor spaces will be transformed for the duration of the exhibition. Inspired by Dalí’s bold blending of the expected and unexpected, floral and plant displays will pay homage to the key motifs of the artist’s work, such as butterflies, eggs, eyes, crutches, mathematical concepts and landscapes.

Salvador Dalí: Gardens of the Mind at Selby Gardens is the fourth installment of the popular Jean and Alfred Goldstein Exhibition Series, which explores the rich connections between nature and the arts. It is curated by Dr. Carol Ockman, Ph.D, Robert Sterling Clark professor of art emerita at Williams College. Past exhibitions have focused on Marc Chagall, Andy Warhol and Paul Gauguin, with unique garden design elements that connect the outdoor gardens to the indoor displays of art. The Goldstein Series is part of Selby Gardens’ Living Museum® model, implemented in 2015, which has aimed to diversify revenue sources and resulted in the retirement of more than $2 million in debt along with reinvestment in the Garden’s mission of education, horticulture and botany.

Selby Gardens will present Dalí-themed lectures, performances, family programs, special tours, school curricula and additional programs that complement the exhibition. A full schedule of events will be available at www.selby.org.

Tags: european art

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