The Dali Theatre-Museum in Figueres

Last week Darius, Sueann and I drove 3 hours to the Catalan town of Figueres to visit the Dali Theatre-Museum which is said to be the second most visited museum in Spain after the Prado in Madrid.

Between 1961 and and 1974 Dali converted the former municipal theater of Figueres into his museum. "I want my museum to be like a single block, a labyrinth, a great surrealistic object. It will be a totally theatrical museum. The people who come to see it will leave with the sensation of having had a theatrical dream." (Salvador Dali)

We can't say whether or not we truly came away with the sensation of having had a theatrical dream but we came close and it was more fun than any other museum we have ever visited. It was a pure delight for the eyes, mind and funny-bone.


Covering the crimson exterior walls of the museum are representations of loaves of bread. Dali often used bread in his paintings. He once said that if it cannot be consumed it isn't art. Additionally the exterior "reminds us that we are in the house of a surrealist in Catalan where the colors of the flag are crimson and yellow."
(Stephen B. Chambers). For Dali, eggs represent the prenatal and intrauterine. Like bread, eggs can be consumed and appear in many of Dali's works.


The open air courtyard with the Cadillac-Rainy Taxi and behind it, the stage.
Rowboat used by Gala, Dali's muse and wife, at Portlligat-Cadaques

"Rainy Taxi also known as Mannequin Rotting in a Taxi-Cab, is a three-dimensional artwork created by Salvador Dalí, consisting of an actual automobile with two mannequin occupants. A male chauffeur with a shark head is in the front seat, and a female sits in the back seat. A system of pipes causes 'rainfall' within the taxi. The female wears an evening dress, her hair is tousled, and lettuce and chicory grow around her." (Wikipedia). If a 1 Euro coin is deposited in a slot attached to the car, the rain is supposed to flow within the car. Unfortunately, we had no coin and no else tried it so we did not see this rain show.

The sculptures above and on either side of the doorway are grotesque monsters that refer to the park of monsters of Bomarzo, near Rome, which fascinated Dali.
The geodesic dome sits over the stage area. Dali is buried in a crypt under the stage, directly below the dome.

The stage area showing part of the covering geordesic dome. The large image of a man on the right is a reproduction of the backdrop for Dali's ballet, Labyrinth, in 1941.
Picture of Gala which from a distance turns into the likeness of Abraham Lincoln.

Palace of the Wind, oil on canvas, attached to room ceiling.
"The Louse and the Flea" Dali's sculpture that pays homage to two people who played a barrel organ around the town where he grew up.


This object was a donation from the Xiquets de Valls, a human tower group. There is a Chinaman in the opening in the breast which annonced Dali's film, Impresciones de Alta Mongolia.

Moses with an octopus above.


The photos shown above really do not begin to provide an understanding of what the museum is like. There is so much more and so many more ways of exciting the visitor. Dali wanted visitors to "leave with the sensation of having had a theatrical dream" and with the the Figueres Theatre-Museum he has come close to achieving his incredible goal: just what we would expect from the one and only Salvador Dali.




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