The chief curator of exhibitions at The Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Fla., William Jeffett, emphasized the importance of Salvador Dalí’s role in the Surrealist movement in the Bob and Jean Smith auditorium at the Meadows Museum on Nov. 8.
The auditorium was nearly full as William Jeffett analyzed Dalí’s work from 1929 through 1936 in a presentation to show how Dalí contributed to the Surrealist movement in Paris. Jeffett elaborated on Dalí’s bizarre work and how it was bold for his time.
“These would have been fairly strange paintings for your general audience in the 1920s and might be strange today as well,” Jeffett said.
Jeffett analyzed Dalí’s paintings, portraits and sculptures. He noted the distortion, collage and Freudian concepts that were incorporated in Dalí’s artwork while also commenting on Dalí’s darker side in his painting “The Accommodations of Desire.”
“If you look at all of the little details you’ll find that things are very disturbing, this is not a rosy, jolly view of the world,” Jeffett said. “This is quite the remarkable painting, it’s worth looking at really up close.”
Jeffett also commented on Dalí’s use of collage in his paintings. Dalí’s painting “The First Days of Spring” blends collage with paint.
“It’s a complex painting and it mixes collage with painting,” Jeffett said. “It’s almost impossible to tell what area is collage and what area is actually painted.”
According to Jeffett, Dalí’s unique artwork contributed to the growth of the Surrealist movement internationally, as he participated in many Surrealist art exhibitions.
“It was at this time around 1935 that the movement becomes increasingly international so it’s not just isolated in France,” Jeffett said.
Along with an analysis of his artwork, Jeffett spoke of Dalí’s early life, including how Dalí was exposed to art as a child. He also included information about Dalí’s friendships and family.