Antiques and Art Around Florida — 2014-2015 Season
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Salvador Dali & Pablo Picasso A Brush With Florida
Richard Stanley Farneski

In collaboration with the Museu Picasso, Barcelona and with other collaborators from the Gala- Salvador Dalí Foundation, the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, FL presents “Picasso/Dali, Dali/Picasso“, a world class art exhibition, that brings together two of the greatest artists of the 20th century from November 8, 2014 through February 16, 2015. The combined exhibition of Picasso and Dali will allow art aficionados an opportunity to assess and interpret the relationship between two of the most prominent artistic talents of the 20th century and to explore new perceptions of the period in which their lives and works coincided.

The depth of the relationship between Dali and Picasso and the resulting creative masterpieces has never been comprehensively addressed beforehand. “As the exhibition demonstrates, the extreme mutual understanding between both artists resulted in some spectacular and supreme works of art for modernity”, states Bernardo Laniado-Romero, director of the Museu Picasso.

The Dali Museum will present works from more than 25 international art museums and private collections worldwide pairing works of these talented and respected artists. Dozens of works, with a focus on paintings and drawings, along with prints and sculpture will be on exhibit.

The Meeting of Two Artistic Talents

During his inaugural foray in Paris, in the spring of 1926, Dalí visited the studio of Picasso. On meeting Picasso, Dalí said, “I have to see you before going to the Louvre’ the great French museum of art”. Picasso replied, “You were not wrong”. For 15 minutes the great artist examined a small painting of Dalí’s, reserving comment. Later he demonstrated to Dalí his latest works (1923) that he had prepared for the Galerie Paul Rosenberg summer exhibition. Picasso was so enthralled with Dalí’s talent that he personally recommended it to his personal art dealer and further encouraged the young Dali in his work. Returning from Paris, Dalí commenced work on a critical string of paintings which would be indicative of this artistic rendezvous and would serve as the framework towards his artistic development.

Dalí and Picasso engaged in the surrealist project of acquainting the ingenious and disconcerting power of the dreamlike images in their works in 1929. In 1936, Picasso and Dali responded to the ravages of the Spanish Civil War in a concurrent manner, with compelling art that demonstrated the torment of the human drama.

Dali and Picasso each defined their different political affinities in vast opposition to the other during and after World War II. The creative talents of these gentlemen would come together in the commitment towards the major art from the past, along with confronting their own ardor for artistic sovereignty.

The Artists, Their Art

Confronting the imagination of his period, Dali deconstructed classical imagery re-orientating it by means of subconscious symbolic imagery. Picasso, along with other modernists of the era elected traditional imagery as their base to deconstruct and produced a realm of tumult. To underscore the strife of the surrealist trends that Picasso and Dali exemplified, it is necessary to comprehend the artistic and scientific context which fostered a clash of styles in their creations.

“Picasso is the greatest genius...” (Published in 1960) with his own personal summary of their positions, Dali remarked, “Picasso sought to invent/Picasso is anarchic/I am monarchic... Picasso sought to break up/ I to put together/Picasso sought to invent means of expression/I to discover them”. At the height of his public recognition, Picasso chose a simplistic, familiar approach to life – dedicated to his work, not extravagant and base on political philosophy decline to travel to United States. As the 30’s were coming to a close the intensification of World War II heightened, Dali had ventured to the United States, demonstrating a more ‘exhibitionist’ manner, seizing every opportunity to promote himself to the flamboyant show business industry and culture.

Cubism: Picasso and Dali Picasso-

Picasso presented the world to a new way of viewing, interpreting and enjoying art. Considered unorthodox at the time, the work of Picasso was not relished by many; he produced a style of artwork that addressed expressionist art forms which were contemporary and vibrant in color. As opposed to the traditional sphere of viewing art in a two-dimensional form, the cubism art movement looked at how artistic creations could be viewed in a myriad of ways, dimensions, and angles. Compelling the viewer to view at the artwork at many different angles and direction, its purpose was to illustrate more than met the eye and mindset. Post World War I saw Dali enter into the Cubism form of art with his creation entitled, La Publicita, inspired by Pablo Picasso.


Dali sought to differentiate his artistic style, separating himself from the “pack” of other renowned artists of the era. While fragmentation is the premise of Cubism, Dali purposely abstained from fragmenting his face in La Publicita out of respect to Picasso. Cubism not intended to depict reality, the focal point of Cubism is on devising various viewing angles, and divergent opportunities of viewing at the same piece, so that viewers could cultivate their own context of the piece, in lieu of viewing a piece of artwork and be familiar with what it was. Of Picasso and Dali’s Cubism works, viewers are able to establish distinct variations in concept between the two artists Cubism approaches.

Surrealism: Picasso and Dali Salvador Dali-

Dali would immerse his talents in the surrealist movement with other talented artists prior to World War II in Paris. His most renowned surrealism artwork is the 1937 piece The Persistence of Memory.

Implementing a scheme whereby the development of a piece of art utilizes a progressive process of the mind to envision images within the work, it integrates into the final creation, with the resulting work presenting itself as a double or multiple image which gives way to an enigmatic image can be perceived in a myriad of ways.

Commenting on the foundation of his surreal art that employs double imagery, Dali professed, “I believe that the moment is near when by a procedure of active paranoiac thought, it will be possible to systematize confusion and contribute to the total discrediting of the world of reality.”


Picasso drew on Surrealist imagery and techniques that created art of distorted and transformed symbols and characters. Picasso would venture into the Surrealism movement with an affective and intuitive sequence of art which would include The Dream and Lie of Franco (1937) which satirizes and ridicules Spanish Generalissimo Francisco Franco’s embracement of conservative Spanish culture and values.

Noted painter and art historian John Golding contends that “more than any other work by Picasso, Dream and Lie of Franco breaks down, as the Surrealists so passionately longed to, distinctions between thought, writing and visual imagery.”

The Dream and Lie of Franco Etching and aquatint would serve as a precursor to Guernica, (1937), Picasso’s most acclaimed piece of artwork which embodied artistic creations such as Minotaur. “My whole life as an artist has been nothing more than a continuous struggle against reaction and the death of art. In the picture I am painting — which I shall call Guernica — I am expressing my horror of the military caste which is now plundering Spain into an ocean of misery and death.” Pablo Picasso

The Dali Museum, located in the heart of beautiful downtown St. Petersburg, Florida, is home to an unparalleled collection of Salvador Dali art, featuring more than 2,000 works of oil paintings; watercolors and drawings; prints, photographs, sculptures and objets d’art. The building is itself a unique architectural treasure featuring 1,062 triangular shaped glass panels, thus being only structure of its kind on the North America continent. Information about this exhibition can be found at:

Richard Farneski is a freelance writer focusing on Florida art history and historical architectural design.