The House That Dali Built

Posted by - May 4, 2013 | Category: Escapees, Escapes, Europe, Spain

Salvador Dali House Museum, Port Lligat, Cadaques, Spain

One of the more infamous episodes involving Salvador Dali concerns the colossal falling out with his father. Years after Mrs. Dali had passed, a young Salvador scribbled “Parfois je crache par plaisir sur le portrait de ma mère” (sometimes I spit with pleasure on the portrait of my mother) on an early painting. The incensed elder Dali threw him out of the house. Salvador later returned, handed him a sperm-filled condom with the parting words, “This is all I owe you.”

Yep. That was Dali. He was colourful, he was argumentative, but probably most of all, he liked to shock. This was, after all, the same man who, with his wife Gala, showed up at a masquerade ball in New York dressed as the Lindbergh baby and kidnapper.

Salvador Dali House Mueum, Port Lligat, Cadaques, Spain 2868x4309-071

That’s why I was a little surprised at Salvador Dali’s home in Cadaques, Spain. Now the Salvador Dali House Museum, the house (or rather houses – Dali purchased 7 fisherman’s homes and had them renovated into one) is at times at odds with his personality. You’ll see what I mean in a moment.Salvador Dali House Mueum, Port Lligat, Cadaques, Spain 4309x2868-069Visitors are greeted at the entrance with a stuffed polar bear – a half-macabre, half-garish sentry sporting ornate necklaces, and carrying a net-shaded lamp. Rounding out the taxidermy (at least in this room), is a stuffed owl – eyes fixed on the entry way. A lip-shaped sofa lies to the right. Salvador Dali House Mueum, Port Lligat, Cadaques, Spain 2868x4309-076Three swans that Dali kept as pets keep watch over the library. Dali apparently loved them so much that at one point (when they were living of course) he had them fitted with helmets affixed with candles so he could watch them glide by in the bay at night. I think that might be considered “swan abuse” these days.Salvador Dali House Mueum, Port Lligat, Cadaques, Spain 4309x2868-084The house is a series of winding staircases and cubbyholes, each containing bizarre and odd trinkets and furnishings.Salvador Dali House Mueum, Port Lligat, Cadaques, Spain 4309x2868-090Salvador Dali House Mueum, Port Lligat, Cadaques, Spain 4309x2868-098Salvador Dali House Mueum, Port Lligat, Cadaques, Spain 2868x4309-087Salvador Dali House Mueum, Port Lligat, Cadaques, Spain 2868x4309-089Dali’s studio…Salvador Dali House Mueum, Port Lligat, Cadaques, Spain 2868x4309-094Dali’s wife Gala (and her breasts) figure prominently in the home.Salvador Dali House Mueum, Port Lligat, Cadaques, Spain 2868x4309-096Salvador Dali House Mueum, Port Lligat, Cadaques, Spain 2868x4309-101Dali had this mirror installed so he and Gala could lie in bed and watch the sunrise.Salvador Dali House Mueum, Port Lligat, Cadaques, Spain 2868x4309-103Salvador Dali House Mueum, Port Lligat, Cadaques, Spain 2868x4309-107The decidedly unshocking bathroom.Salvador Dali House Mueum, Port Lligat, Cadaques, Spain 2868x4309-111Dali’s famous “Oval Room.”Salvador Dali House Mueum, Port Lligat, Cadaques, Spain 2868x4309-118Salvador Dali House Mueum, Port Lligat, Cadaques, Spain 4309x2868-110And of course, the eggs.Salvador Dali House Mueum, Port Lligat, Cadaques, Spain 2868x4309-130Salvador Dali House Mueum, Port Lligat, Cadaques, Spain 4309x2868-119Salvador Dali House Mueum, Port Lligat, Cadaques, Spain 2868x4309-134Bizarre art installations are scatted throughout the gardens.Salvador Dali House Mueum, Port Lligat, Cadaques, Spain 2868x4309-138Salvador Dali House Mueum, Port Lligat, Cadaques, Spain 4309x2868-126Salvador Dali House Mueum, Port Lligat, Cadaques, Spain 2868x4309-152Salvador Dali House Mueum, Port Lligat, Cadaques, Spain 2868x4309-159Salvador Dali House Mueum, Port Lligat, Cadaques, Spain 4309x2868-129The lip-shaped sofas (there are several throughout the house) are said to be inspired by Mae West.Salvador Dali House Mueum, Port Lligat, Cadaques, Spain 4309x2868-132Salvador Dali House Mueum, Port Lligat, Cadaques, Spain 4309x2868-135And the pool resembling a misshapen penis.Salvador Dali House Mueum, Port Lligat, Cadaques, Spain 4309x2868-136

Quirky? Yes. Shocking? At times I suppose. (Who else would have photographs of his wife, bare-breasted, in the hallway for company to see?) Dali’s house, while definitely a must-see in Cadaques, is not as odd as I would have anticipated.

I was expecting a more surreal landscape from the ultimate surrealist. More melting clocks. More eggs. More penises. But I suppose even the most shocking personalities like Dali need some “unshocking” space to reflect and create. Then again, maybe I’m just numb from all the weird shit I see.

What are your thoughts on the Salvador Dali House Museum?

Note: I was a guest of CharmingVillas.net during my stay in Cadaques, Spain. All opinions (as always) are my own.

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25 comments
  1. I’m with Shannon – the egg is awesome.
    You just gotta remember Raymond – a little surrealism goes a looong way – might be why he had punches of normalcy at home. :-D
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  2. OMG, this is why I love Europe! Full of history and figures you only read about them. Dali -for sure- was unique and his arts was “different” but you can’t but impressed with his personality.

    Well said “…He was colourful, he was argumentative, but probably most of all, he liked to shock…”

    1. It’s an easy spot to spend a lot of time exploring. You are ushered through the rooms with a guide, but when you are outside you can spend as much time as you want exploring the grounds.

  3. For anyone interested in Dalí the triangle of the Theatre Museum in Figueras, Dalí’s house/museum in Portlligat(nr Cadaques ) and his wife Galas Castle in Púbol (nr La Bisbal) are all must visits. The Museum in Figueras is the second most visited in Spain after the Prado in Madrid and clearly shows off his true creative genius on a grand scale. The Castle at Púbol and his house in Portlligat offer a more intimate view of their lives as well as all the numerous famous visitors that spent time in this area.

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