21 November 2012-25 March
Centre Pompidou, Paris
Catalogue (French) by Jean-Hubert Martin, Montse Aguer, Jean-Michel Bouhours and Thierry Dufrene (eds.)
ISBN 9782844265852 (hardback), 49.90 cents
(Editions du Centre Pompidou)
Around 200 works, in all media and from all periods, by Salvador Dali (1904-89) are currently assembled at the Centre Pompidou, Paris. The exhibition (which will travel to the Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid; 23 April-2 September) does not approach the scale of the Centre's career-defining retrospective of 1979-80; instead, it aims to reappraise Dali as a whole, including his lesser-regarded late period, which the curators have cast as an anticipation of Postmodernism. While work from the surrealist period (1926-39) naturally dominates, both the American period (1940-49) and the religious/multi-style late period (1950-83) are fairly represented as well.
Early family portraits and views of Dali's beloved Catalan homeland--the towns of Cadaques and Figueres, his birthplace--demonstrate a precocious talent. Dramatic changes in style begin early on, while the young artist is still learning his craft. Large pictures dating from 1924 to 1926 synthesise Cubism, neo-Classicism and Purism, and hung here sequentially they appear especially imposing, testifying to a confident mastery and thrusting ambition.
The common view is that Dali's art declined following his arrival, in 1940, in America, where he worked in Hollywood and painted society portraits with typically Dalinian backgrounds. But in truth Dali had already, while still living in Europe, substituted his obsessive distillation of hallucinatory visions with flamboyance and repetition: by 1936 he was using Leonardo da Vinci's drawing idiom and motifs--cavaliers with lances on prancing horses,...