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.
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.Visitors 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. Three 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.The house is a series of winding staircases and cubbyholes, each containing bizarre and odd trinkets and furnishings.Dali’s studio…Dali’s wife Gala (and her breasts) figure prominently in the home.Dali had this mirror installed so he and Gala could lie in bed and watch the sunrise.The decidedly unshocking bathroom.Dali’s famous “Oval Room.”And of course, the eggs.Bizarre art installations are scatted throughout the gardens.The lip-shaped sofas (there are several throughout the house) are said to be inspired by Mae West.And the pool resembling a misshapen penis.
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.