First Major Exhibition of Salvador Dali’s Late Work to be Presented Exclusively at High Museum of Art

ATLANTA – The first major exhibition to reevaluate the last half of Salvador Dalí’s career will be presented exclusively at the High Museum of Art this August. Beginning in the late 1930s, Dalí went through a radical change in which he embraced Catholicism, developed the concept of nuclear mysticism and, in effect, reinvented himself as an artist. Comprising more than 40 paintings and a related group of drawings, prints and other Dalí ephemera, “Salvador Dalí: The Late Work” will also explore the artist’s enduring fascination with science, optical effects and illusionism as well as his connections to such artists of the 1960s and 1970s as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Willem de Kooning.

Among the highlights of the exhibition will be several works that have not been seen in the U.S. in 50 years, including the monumental “Christ of St. John of the Cross,” which was voted Scotland’s favorite painting in 2007, and “Santiago El Grande,” which has not left New Brunswick, Canada, since 1959. Designed as an altarpiece, this painting includes Dalí’s vision of the Crucifixion, an homage to Saint James (the patron saint of Spain) and an atomic explosion. The exhibition will also feature “Assumpta Corpuscularia Lapislazulina,” from a private collection in Spain, which has not been seen publicly since 1959.

“Salvador Dalí: The Late Work” is organized by the High Museum of Art in collaboration with the Salvador Dalí Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida, and the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, Figueres, Spain. The High will be the sole venue for the exhibition, where it will be on view from August 7, 2010, through January 9, 2011.

“Salvador Dalí at the High Museum brings together one of the most important groupings of the artist’s later work to ever be shown, and also affords our visitors the opportunity to meet one of the greatest artists and intriguing minds of the twentieth century,” said Michael E. Shapiro, the High’s Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr. Director. “It will be thrilling for our audiences to see the evolution of the world’s best known Surrealist.”

“Salvador Dalí: The Late Work” will be introduced by a selection of vintage photographs highlighting Dalí’s collaborations with photographer Philippe Halsman. The subsequent galleries will include a selection of works that provide a background for understanding the artist’s development beyond Surrealism, highlighting earlier works such as “Femme Couchée” (1926) as well as those most associated with the Surrealist movement, including “Morphological Echo” (1936) and “Transparent Simulacrum of the Feigned Image” (1938).

Visitors will then be introduced to Dalí’s concept of “nuclear mysticism.” With his conversion to Catholicism in the 1940s, religious iconography also became prevalent in his work during this period. These themes often converged in works such as “The Madonna of Port-Lligat” (1949), which portrays the classic Madonna and Child fragmented and breaking into particles—Dalí’s way of uniting modern science and atomic physics with religious tradition.

Also included in this section is the monumental “Christ of St. John of the Cross”—one of the artist’s most famous images—which portrays the crucified Christ on the cross from a striking angle, looking down from above. Dalí described the image as having come to him in a dream, in which he envisioned Christ as the atomic nucleus. Visitors will see this work alongside “Santiago El Grande.” This section of the exhibition will also explore Dalí’s innovative graphic works in his illustrations of “Don Quixote,” which he created in public spectacles that involved applying paint with rhinoceros horns.

The final section of the exhibition will trace Dalí’s work in illustration, fashion and theatre, all part of his creative projects that predated later commercial ventures by such “celebrity artists” as Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons. Included will be examples of sculpture, jewelry, a chess set and a sampling of the artist’s rarely exhibited portrait works of America’s high society. Exploring Dalí’s relationship with 1960s Pop Art, the exhibition will include Andy Warhol’s “Screen Test: Salvador Dalí” and the photomontage “Mao Marilyn” that blends Marilyn Monroe’s features with those of Chairman Mao, which Dalí commissioned from photographer Philippe Halsman.

As an example of Dalí’s innovative use of media and popular persona, the exhibition will feature the 1960 film “Chaos and Creation”—possibly the first example of video art—in which Dalí creates an abstract painting using a motorcycle, popcorn and Pennsylvania pigs. The final segement of the exhibition will showcase some of the artist’s most innovative late works such as his hologram of rock star Alice Cooper and the 1958 painting “The Sistine Madonna,” which predates Pop Art by superimposing the image of the Virgin and Child onto a giant photograph of the Pope’s ear, which is composed of a benday dot pattern.

“Dalí’s art after 1940 continues to be highly controversial due to his perceived reactionary politics, unabashed commercialism, and conservative mode of representation,” said Elliott King, guest curator for the exhibition and Dalí scholar. “Critical understanding of these issues has changed over the past fifty years, and where Dalí was once deliberately out of step with modern art, today we can look back on his ‘late’ work and appreciate its innovations and antecedence to more contemporary concerns. If we move beyond Dalí’s veneer of self-promotion or, better still, understand it as integral to his artistic project, the work can be recognized as some of the most intelligent and dynamic of the twentieth century.”

Salvador Dalí
Salvador Dalí (1904–1989), born in Figueres, Spain, is one of the most famous and controversial artists of the twentieth century. He was prolific for more than 60 years, creating more than 1,200 oil paintings, countless drawings, sculptures, theatre and fashion designs, book illustrations and numerous writings. The young Dalí attended the San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid, holding his first one-man show in Barcelona in 1925 and his first one-man show in Paris in 1929. He quickly became a leading figure of the Surrealist movement, but was “expelled” from the group during a “trial” in 1934. Dalí and his wife Gala moved to the United States in 1940 and stayed there until 1948, during which time The Museum of Modern Art in New York gave Dalí his first major retrospective exhibition in 1941, followed in 1942 by the publication of his autobiography “The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí.” In 1974 Dali opened the Teatro-Museo Dalí in Figueres. This was followed by retrospectives in Paris and London at the end of the decade. After Gala’s death in 1982, Dalí’s health began to fail. Much of this part of his life was spent in seclusion until his death in 1989.

Exhibition Organization and Support
“Salvador Dalí: The Late Work” is organized by the High Museum of Art in collaboration with the Salvador Dalí Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida, and the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, Figueres, Spain. The High will be the sole venue for the exhibition, where it will be on view from August 7, 2010, through January 9, 2011. The exhibition is curated by Dalí scholar and independent curator Elliott King; David Brenneman, Director of Collections and Exhibitions at the High, will serve as managing curator for the High. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue to be published by the High Museum of Art.

The Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí
Created in 1983, the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí is a private cultural institution with the mission, as stated in its bylaws, to promote, boost, divulge, lend prestige to, protect and defend in Spain and in any other country the artistic, cultural and intellectual oeuvre of the painter; his goods and rights of any nature; his life experience, thoughts, projects and ideas; his artistic, intellectual and cultural works; and his memory and the universal recognition of the genius of his contribution to the fine arts, culture and contemporary thought. For more information, visit

The Salvador Dalí Museum
The Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, houses more of Salvador Dalí’s famed masterworks than any other museum in the world, and the collection is the largest in the world outside of the artist’s museum in Spain. The Museum opened in March 1982, with the Morse bequest—the most comprehensive private collection of Dalí’s work in the world. Industrialist A. Reynolds Morse and his wife Eleanor Reese, both friends and collectors of Dalí, spent their lifetime seeking out the artist’s work and assembling the largest private collection of Dali’s art in the world. The Museum is currently creating a new building to protect its collection and welcome its visitors. It is set to open in winter 2011. The new Dalí Museum will be more than twice the size of the current museum. For more information, visit

High Museum of Art
The High Museum of Art, founded in 1905 as the Atlanta Art Association, is the leading art museum in the southeastern United States. With more than 12,000 works of art in its permanent collection, the High Museum of Art has an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American and decorative art; significant holdings of European paintings; a growing collection of African American art; and burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, photography and African art. The High is also dedicated to supporting and collecting works by Southern artists and is distinguished as the only major museum in North America to have a curatorial department specifically devoted to the field of folk and self-taught art. The High’s Media Arts department produces acclaimed annual film series and festivals of foreign, independent and classic cinema. In November 2005 the High opened three new buildings by architect Renzo Piano that more than doubled the Museum’s size, creating a vibrant “village for the arts” at the Woodruff Arts Center in midtown Atlanta. For more information about the High, please visit

The Woodruff Arts Center
The Woodruff Arts Center is ranked among the top four arts centers in the nation. The Woodruff is unique in that it combines four visual and performing arts divisions on one campus as one not-for-profit organization. Opened in 1968, the Woodruff Arts Center is home to the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the High Museum of Art and Young Audiences. To learn more about the Woodruff Arts Center, please visit

Image: Salvador Dalí, “Santiago El Grande,” 1957. Oil on canvas, 160 1/2 x 120 in. Beaverbrook Art Gallery, New Brunswick