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First-of-its-kind exhibit exploring the artistic dialogue between René Magritte and Salvador Dalí opens
René Magritte, The Philosopher's Lamp, 1936. Oil on canvas, 46 x 55 cm. Private collection. © 2018 C. Herscovici / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA.- The Dalí Museum, in partnership with The Magritte Museum (a part of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium), unveiled its special Magritte & Dalí exhibition. On display through May 19, 2019, this exhibit is the very first to explore these renowned artists as a sole pairing, following the common threads and creative divergences between their distinctive bodies of work. Magritte & Dalí is co-curated by Dr. William Jeffett, Chief Curator of Exhibitions at The Dalí Museum, and Dr. Michel Draguet, General Director of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. This is the only opportunity visitors have to explore this exhibit in the United States before it travels to Brussels in the fall of 2019.

Magritte & Dalí provides viewers with the opportunity to trace these artists’ journeys from the late 1920s to the early 1940s, the period when the two artists’ careers overlapped and they displayed their works in the same Surrealist exhibitions. There are many strong parallels of imagery and ideas in their paintings. The exhibition explores these commonalities through a series of themes in curtained sections. In Seeing Through, illusionary holes inspire the process of looking. Irrational Spaces creates disorienting environments through oppositions – presence and absence, large and small, animate and inanimate. Double Images, a shared obsession of Magritte and Dalí, offers a vehicle to express the complexity of experience and provide alternative realities, in short, a second reading of the world.

“This special exhibition marks the first time that René Magritte and Salvador Dalí have been examined in tandem,” said Dr. Hank Hine, Executive Director of The Dalí Museum. “By partnering with another single artist museum, we are able to provide an in-depth look at their commonalities in the same light, space, and moment.”

Their artistic executions differed dramatically. While Dalí painted autobiographically with a virtuosity of painterly detail, Magritte embraces the anonymity of a sign painter, creating seemingly familiar imagery that contains irrational and enigmatic elements to shock and provoke. Despite these divergent artistic approaches to their respective works, both Magritte and Dalí remained equally committed to implementing disruptive and innovative procedures that challenged reality and generated fuller freedom of imagination and experience. In their own remarkable ways, they each created an art that would provide new paths to the future.

The core of the exhibition consists of Magritte’s most fascinating works from this time period, on loan from Brussels and various private collections, paired with a similar number of Salvador Dalí’s key works from The Dalí Museum’s permanent collection. The selections explore and explain the similarities and differences between these two titans of the Surrealist movement. Significant Magritte works on display in this exhibition include Le Baiser [The Kiss] (1938), La Magie noire [Black Magic] (1945) L’Oiseau de ciel [Sky Bird] (1966) and Dieu n’est pas un saint [God Is No Saint] (ca. 1935-36), while Dalí works include Old Age, Adolescence, Infancy (The Three Ages) (1940), The Weaning of Furniture-Nutrition (1934) and Surrealist Object Functioning Symbolically-Gala’s Shoe (1931).

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication incorporating the works in the exhibition as well as complementary images and texts by Dr. Michel Draguet, Dr. William Jeffett, and Dr. Hank Hine. In addition to a comprehensive overview of the exhibit themes, this new scholarly work includes a chronology of Magritte and Dalí with never-before-compiled analyses on their careers during the key Surrealist decade of the 1930s.

“It was fascinating to examine these artists during this critical period of their careers,” said Dr. William Jeffett. “Magritte was one of the first artists Dalí met when he arrived in Paris in 1929, and while their styles are radically different, it is remarkable how many fundamental similarities and mutual influences can be discerned throughout their work.”

Beyond the striking artwork, visitors have the opportunity to enjoy unique interactive spaces inspired by Magritte and Dalí. The original interactive elements, which include an immersive cloud room experience and augmented reality photo screens that transform viewers into living works of surrealist art, transport visitors to a surreal new world where they will experience a freedom of imagination that only Magritte and Dalí could inspire.

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