The plans for the new Dalí museum are underway with a completion date set for January 2011.
Stroll just south of downtown St. Petersburg, and you will stumble upon the beautiful USF St. Petersburg campus. But look a little deeper, and you will find an unassuming beige building just near the water's edge. Many people aren’t aware that this lackluster structure actually houses the largest collection of Salvador Dalí’s work outside of Europe. And a much-needed makeover of this marvelous museum is just around the corner.
It has been almost thirty years since the old marine warehouse was converted into the Dalí Museum. The building was purchased in the 1980s when Reynolds and Eleanor Morse decided to move their Ohio-based collection of Dalí paintings to a larger space and warmer climate. Since that time, the permanent collection has grown tremendously with works from Dalí as well as other artists of similar surrealist style.
There have been talks about relocating the museum for years, but it wasn’t until recently that the decision was finalized. The reasons for moving were more than sound: the collection has simply outgrown the space, and, being so close to sea level, the paintings are in a constant state of danger.
The new museum will be called Dalí Boulevard and is projected to be an architectural masterpiece, one that follows the mind Dalí himself. Much like the late Spanish artist’s own work, the building will marry tradition with imagination. The structure will be practical and mathematically sound, but there will be an organic, art nouveau quality as well, with spectacular free-formed glass jutting out of the ceiling from a staircase that spirals into the sky.
Many were in attendance for the exciting groundbreaking event that took place on December 12, 2008. At the ceremony, art director Hank Hine claimed, “The museum will be a distinguished architectural achievement with innovative design and technology, a combination, as in Dali’s art, of the classical and the fantastic. It will be like no other building you have seen.” Some of the highlights of the new $35 million space will include:
- A café for visitors to enjoy a meal or simple refreshments
- A fantastic circular stairwell
- A collection that is safe and sound from the harm that could potentially be caused by a natural disaster
- Classrooms for teaching visitors about Dali’s technique and inspiration
- A museum store
- Additional rooms for exhibits
The new building is slated to open January 2011. The museum, which attracts about 200,000 visitors a year, is projected to draw closer to half a million with the new edifice. Hine recently told Fox News of his excitement that seems to grow by the minute,:“You know architecture is visual art, and people see pictures of it, and then they hear the talk, 'hey have you been to St. Petersburg to see that incredible museum?' " Stay tuned!
Who is Salvador Dalí?
The late Spanish artist was born at the turn of the 19th century and is known for an extreme imagination that is reflected in each of his paintings, drawings and sculptures. Dalí’s bizarre themes and dream-like style helped shape the surrealist movement that began in the 1920s. His best-known work, titled Persistence of Memory a.k.a. the soft watches or clocks, encapsulates the relativity of time, which is a reoccurring theme in his work.
Find out more details about the current or prospective Dalí museum.