The Living Flower
Buying tickets to the house-museum of Salvador Dali, you can visit two exhibitions: paintings and jewelry. The exhibition of Salvador Dali jewelry is located separately, in the famous red house with eggs on the roof.
It’s dark there. Taking photographs is difficult. The Sony is not always able to get a focus. I press it to the glass and still try.
The famous eye of the Time Brooch. A tear is in the corner.
The Living Flower.
I don’t even know what it is. Perhaps, a brooch. But again, beautiful.
You can buy the Ruby Lips brooch later. It will be a copy, but still not cheap.
Well, of course, the favorite “animal” of Salvador Dali, an elephant on mosquito legs 🙂
You have yet to decide whether to put such a piece of jewelry on your evening dress.
A tiny locket, Tristan and Isolde
The path of life of universally recognized geniuses is not always strewn with flowers. Like a talented diamond cutter, the overcoming of numerous inner phobias can create a diamond, sparkling with a million facets, from simple glass. Yes, it’s not a common rule, but it seems to have been the case of Salvador Dali.
He started to learn pictorial art in the usual provincial school of art, and only after ten years, he moved from Figueres to Madrid, Spain. Unrecognized and unknown, Dali left his hometown in order come back rich and famous one day.
In 1922, Salvador Dali enrolled in the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando where he spent several years experimenting with Cubism methods, but after four years, he was expelled from the academy for his so-called imperious and snobbish attitude towards teachers. He knew he was talented. What did he feel back then? Did he experience the bitterness of defeat?
Looks like he didn’t give up. In the same year, Dali moved to Paris where he met Pablo Picasso. In Paris, as a young man of twenty-something, he desperately sought his own style. There, Dali met his Gala. In that time, this Russian woman carried a different name, Elena Diakonova-Éluard.
One day, Salvador invited a group of young artists, poets, and writers, including the poet Paul Éluard, friend of Dali, to stay at his estate in Spain. Not everyone accepted the proposal of the “Spanish upstart,” but as for Éluard—he came with his wife. When the couple got out of the car and the artist first saw Elena, he was simply left speechless. Only once during a party, he came up to her and said, “You’re mine, Gala! Will you marry me?” Elena burst out laughing and answered that she was already married. Eccentric Dali locked himself in his room and stayed there all the days while the guests lived at his house and had fun.
He left his shelter only when they started to leave. He just stood, watched how Elena and her husband together with other guests were leaving his house, and waited. She came up to the car, took her suitcase and said to Paul, “I’m staying. Now, Dali is my husband.” She was 36 years old, Salvador Dali—25.
It turns out that works of art are like children—only a couple can create them. At last, Salvador Dali found his own original, recognizable style, ingeniously realizing Gala’s every insane desire.
“What do you want, sweetheart? What do you need, sweetheart?”
“A beating heart made of ruby!”
Yes, Gala wanted brilliance and luxury, and Dali started to invent incredible jewelry. He drew them scrupulously with all the details on paper, then he personally chose the precious metals and gems, and the jeweler, Carlos Alemany, embodied his ideas in gold. Thanks to this complicated, but ideal duet of Salvador and Gala Dali, we can see the Living Flower, the Eye of Time Brooch, Tristan and Isolde, and the Madonna of the Aquamarine, in Figueres.
The history of the Salvador Dali jewelry collection
The history of the collection started in 1941, when the first 22 items were bought by the American millionaire, Cummins Catherwood. Then, the Fund of Owen Cheatham became the holder of the collection through the acquisition of all further jewelry pieces of Dali. By 1970, in cooperation with talented jewelers, Salvador Dali drew 39 sketches and created 37 pieces of jewelry which became a splendid part of the exposition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, USA. A year before the opening of the Dali Theatre and Museum in Spanish city of Figueres, this jewelry collection was shown as a part of the interim expo in the artist’s native land, Spain.
But time passed, and the unique collection continued to change owners. In 1981, the surrealistic jewelry became the property of a Saudi multi-millionaire who sold off the collection by pieces to three firms in Japan. Later, one of these buyers initiated the return home of the jewelry masterpieces by Salvador Dali—to Spain.
Only in 1999, the Fund Gala-Salvador Dali redeemed the jewelry collection, created by the genius Spaniard, for 5.5 million Euro (900 million pesetas back then). Nowadays, in the specially created exhibition hall in the Galata tower of the Dali Theatre and Museum in Figueres, you may feast your eyes on 39 pieces of jewelry born of the surrealistic fantasies of the great Salvador Dali. Two of them were created according to his drawings, after his death.
This collection is a unique set of jewelry every one of which contains the universally recognizable “signature” of the maestro. Gold, platinum, pearl, and precious stones are not just expensive materials. They turned into hearts and lips, eyes and flowers, animals and mythological or religious symbols. The knowledge of these symbols provides the ability to “read” Dali’s pictures which most of us admire, hardly knowing that every plot has its own history. Through paintings by Salvador Dali, you can study mythology.
Here you will find the sketches exhibited near the jewelry. It allows us to “pry into” the thoughts of Dali, to try to track how a masterpiece was born from an idea. You can compare what was planned and how it turned out.
There is a sensation that it is Medusa
Among the different jewelry fantasies of Dali, you may see: the movingly sensual “Ruby Lips” (1949), the “Living Flower” and “The Eye of Time” with a tear in the corner (1953), one of Dali’s favorite character–the “Space Elephant” (1961), and of course, the “Royal Heart” requested by Gala.
Forty-six rubies, forty-two diamonds and four emeralds are gathered into one composition, designed and created in such way that the movable center “beats” like a real heart. This is a miracle!
The exposition of Dali’s jewelry is located in the building of the Dali Theatre and Museum in Figueres, but is considered a separate museum. The jewelry collection created from 1941 to 1970 is displayed on two floors, and these pieces of art are inimitable.
If you are relaxing in Costa Brava, or traveling by car around Catalonia, I strongly recommend visiting the Dali Jewelry Museum in Figueres. This is the only place where you can see the “Bleeding Honeycomb Heart” made of gold, ruby, and diamonds, the “Ruby Lips Brooch” made of pearl and ruby, and the “Tree of Life Necklace.”