Salvador Dalí, Spanish 1904–89 - "In search of the fourth dimension" 1979 - Oil on canvas, 123.5 x 245.5 cm. Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, Figueres. © Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, VISCOPY, 2009

MELBOURNE, AU - Salvador Dalí: Liquid Desire  is the first comprehensive retrospective of the work of Salvador Dalí ever to be staged in Australia. The exhibition is drawn from the holdings of the two largest collections of Dalí in the world: - the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí in Figueres, Spain; and the Salvador Dalí Museum in St Petersburg, Florida, USA. The exhibition opens 13 June and will be on view through 4 October, 2009 at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). This year the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series includes Salvador Dalí: Liquid Desire at the National Gallery of Victoria and A Day in Pompeii at Melbourne Museum. Melbourne Winter Masterpieces is an initiative of the Victorian Government.

Salvador DALÍ - Spanish 1904–89 Daddy Longlegs of the evening – Hope! 1940, oil on canvas, 40.6 x 50.8 cm. The Salvador Dalí Museum, St Petersburg, FL Worldwide Rights: © Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, VISCOPY, 2009.From his birth in 1904 until his death in 1989 at the age of 85, Salvador Dalí’s life spanned almost a century of dramatic social and artistic change. A full retrospective, the exhibition will comprise more than 200 works in all media including painting, drawing, watercolour, etchings, jewellery, sculpture, fashion, cinema and photography. It will trace the genius of Dalí from his earliest years as a 14-year-old Impressionist painter, to the final paintings, addressing science and physics, created when the artist was in his seventies.

Dalí’s artistic imagination was constantly fed by the ruggedly romantic landscapes of his native Catalonia, the vast wind-swept plains of the Empordà, and the rocky ‘otherworld’ of the Cap de Creus. These landscapes, infused with his unique imagination, informed the now-classic Surrealist paintings with which Dalí astonished the Parisian art world in the early 1930s. A strong group of paintings from the period of Dalí’s involvement with Surrealism in Paris will be included in the exhibition.

Salvador Dalí’s life spanned almost a century of dramatic social and artistic change. Salvador Dalí: Liquid Desire traces the extraordinary innovation Dalí brought to his art at every stage of his remarkable career, from his earliest years as an exceptionally talented 14-year-old to the final majestic paintings created when the artist was in his seventies.

The exhibition moves through Dalí’s experimentation with Cubism, Abstraction, Neoclassicism and New Objectivity during his student years and his leadership of the Surrealist movement in Paris during the 1930s. Salvador Dalí: Liquid Desire will also include the most significant Dalí work held in an Australian collection, the Lobster Telephone from the National Gallery of Australia, arguably one of the most famous sculptures of the twentieth century.

A highlight of the exhibition will be the return to Australia of the artist’s 1932 painting Memory of the Child-Woman. This was the first Dalí painting ever to be seen in Australia in 1939 and was met with great controversy.

Dalí’s ties with Spain were severed with the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 and, with the outbreak of the Second World War, Salvador and his wife Gala relocated from Paris to the United States (where they were resident from 1940-48). While resident in the USA Dalí was actively involved with the fashion, theatre, publishing and film industries. Post-war, his art engaged with the atomic age and nuclear theory, as well as exploring a unique and personal religious mysticism.

Salvador Dalí: Liquid Desire is a kaleidoscopic and panoramic exhibition that will surprise and delight visitors as it explores the life and art of one of the most colourful and influential figures of the twentieth century. Visit :

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Cocteau on Artists Speaking

"An artist cannot speak about his art any more than a plant can discuss horticulture."