Saturday, November 3, 2012


Port Lligat and Figueres

Persistence of Memory, 1931. In Museo Teatro,  Figueres

We had the good fortune on two occasions to spend a few hours with Salvador Dali. 

Would that were true. What a lifetime experience that might have been. Alas, he died in 1984. We visited both his home in Port Lligat and his final resting place in Figueres, Cataloniaboth the most important museums and galleries of his works.

Our first exposure to the great Dali was on a day trip from our base in Collioure, France. We drove the old meandering coast road (N-260), crossing the border into Spain at Cerbère/Portbou. After a couple of hours of negotiating cliff-hanging hairpins with alternating views of the azure Mediterranean and rocky hillsides, sometimes barren and sometimes covered in seemingly impossible-to-harvest vineyards, we entered the Parc Natural del Cap de Creus. There was very little traffic this time of year (late October) and the weather was grand.

Meandering our way down the mountain pass to the harbour town of Cadaqués, we pulled over for our bearings then turned into the next bay which is Port Lligat, home of Salvador and Gala Dali for just over 50 years. Their house began as a tiny fisherman’s cabina overlooking the bay, and over the years Dali transformed it into a labyrinth of interconnected buildings, gardens and other open areas.

We ate our picnic lunch in front of the house while waiting for our tour to begin. Even in late October reservations are required at Casa Museo Salvador Dali. 

fishing boats on the beach by the Dali house

Dali exhibited his first sketches when he was 14 years old. He studied art in Madrid but got expelled before graduating. The artist was a rebel until he died at the age of 84.

Salvador and Gala Dali's bedroom

The egg, a frequent image in Dali's paintings,
 is said to represent hope and love.

Two of many inverted pots (?) on a whitewashed stucco wall. 

Wandering through the rooms and around the courtyards and gardens at the Dali home in Port Lligat is like a magical mystery tour. These are but a few images that were seen through the lens of my camera. Does the pool have the shape of a penis? Male and female body parts are prevalent in the works of Dali.

Salvador Dali was one of the most unique artists of the 20th Century. He was a painter, a sculptor and an architect; a jewelry designer, photographer and filmmaker. He was a self-promoter and one of the earliest performance artists. To say that his life work and his ever-changing views of the world were unconventional would be an understatement.

I bought the T-shirt

late afternoon light on the olive grove above Cadaqués

Our brief glimpse of Salvador Dali's art and his life was only a brief introduction to the works of a creative genius. On reading biographical sketches of Dali and viewing his art, other words also come to mind: mysterious, visionary, enigmatic, perfectionist, versatile and prolific, obsessed, empathetic yet self-possessed, hedonistic and loving, scientific and philosophical ...

Rita and Goose. Museo Teatro, Figueres

Dali Museum (Museo Teatro), Figueres, Catalonia

The visit to Port Lligat only whetted our appetite for the works of Salvador Dali. We had to see more. We left France for Barcelona, lingering along the way for a week in L’Escala on the Costa Brava. On a rainy day, we took a short drive east from L’Escala to Figueres.

Dali was born in Figueres in 1904, only a few blocks from Museo Teatro where his greatest collection of works is housed.

The Girl of Figueres (circa 1926)

Dali was most certainly an eccentric. But above all else, he was the ultimate surrealist, a man who challenged his audience to question conventional wisdom and the status quo. 

While Dali’s influence in the world of art was and continues to be profound, his fantasies still leave us with unanswered questions.

Look closely at the two sketches below. What do you see?

Some interpreters of Dali's work have commented on the artist's relationship with Freud and his sometimes dream strategies to inspire his drawings.


Dali still excites and inspires those of us who do not always require assurances with ready answers, and who can maintain some form of sanity in an ever-changing world of ambiguities.

Mae West exhibit in Teatro Museo

Below, is a short video clip of one of Salvador Dali's most amazing creations: The Royal Heart. This miraculous piece of three-dimensional art is a gold broach with 37 precious gems including rubies that pulse in and out.

Look closely at the cutaway of the beating heart.


For more travel photography and local information visit my photography website. 

Friday, November 2, 2012


COLLIOURE - a Bijoux

Collioure is a bijou—a gem of a city. It is an ancient port on the French Mediterranean, only 29 kilometres from the Spanish border. We shared a home exchange apartment here with our friends, Colin and Colleen for 16 days.

l'Eglise Notre-Dame des Anges et Cloche

This iconic image is probably the most recognizable in Collioure. The cathedral/lighthouse was built in the 1600s on Roman ruins.

Collioure is the anchovy capital of France. In fact, it has that official designation, like the AOC of anchovies.

Collioure is also an artist's community and anyone who visits will see why. Matisse, Picasso, Chagall and many other famous painters were drawn here for the light.

The mild maritime weather and the small pristine beaches; the unique local cuisine found in so many restaurants create an ambience that sets Collioure apart. The geography is stunning and for those of us who are interested in history, at every turn, our curiosity is peaked. We could settle here for some time.

But this blog chapter is more about images than about text. Following are some of my favourite photos taken during our several months in France. 

2. Green Door No. 22 at Le Moré

1. Storm Walk Golfe de Lion

3. Empty Tables in the Rain at Le Moré

4. Woman in Collioure Colours

5. Rue Sans Issue

6. Chateau Royal Crenellation View of Harbour Light

7. Chateau Royal Crenellation View of Seadream

8. Pale Pink House Above Place Juarès

9. Aquamarine Shutters on Coral Wall

10. Cameo Pink House with Azure Trim

11. Seafoam Shutters on Dijon Wall

12. Bougainvillea House

13. Le Pressoir on Rust

14. Three Wrought Iron Railings 

15. Bob in Port Vendres Bay

16. Chateau Royal Front Lit

17. Woman in Collioure Pastels

18. Three Women of Colour

 et, l'artiste sur Bastion No. 8 Chateau Royal