The Pompidou Centre in Paris is putting on the widest ranging retrospective of Salvador Dali ever.
Organisers hope to look beyond the shameless self-promotion that the 20th century surrealist was often derided for, and stress his indelible influence on artists today.
Dali died in 1989 at the age of 84. This exhibition is trying to show how he was a genius because of, and not despite, his contradictions.
The exhibition curator, Jean-Michel Bouhours, said:
“What the exhibition wants to show is that firstly he is a painter. The exhibition includes 120 of his paintings — that’s no small thing — but also that Dali understood really early on that the 20th century wasn’t really the century of paintings anymore and that he should not just limit his art to canvas.”
Dali always loved to provoke. His love of showmanship and declarations like “Surrealism is Me” alienated many people.
The French singer and actress Amanda Lear was Dali’s muse for fifteen years.
“He looks like a crazy man but he was incredibly disciplined,” she said. “He was drinking only water. He was very careful of what he was eating and everyday he was taking his little nap in the afternoon. He was painting every day from the same time to the same time, every afternoon from three til five. Then at five o’clock we had tea and I would drink my hot chocolate and then it was going on til seven. And then when he was finished painting he was cleaning his brushes and he was entertaining a friend. I mean everything was like a ritual.”
The Dali retrospective at the Pompidou Centre which runs until March, is set to be a blockbuster of the Parisian art calendar. The last Dali retrospective at the Pompidou in 1979 is still the most visited exhibition in the museum’s history.