Salvador Dalí was the object and the active subject of a large number of important works in and related to the photographic medium. We tend to associate the most iconic representations of the artist with many of the great authors who have shaped the photographic history of the 20th century, such as Man Ray, Cecil Beaton and Philippe Halsman. No doubt the weight and the exceptional visibility of these photographers, whose status and value is beyond doubt, has overshadowed the names and achievements of the women who also captured the artist with their cameras and who are fully entitled to be studied and appreciated in any inclusive analysis, thanks to the quality of their work.
This year, we are delving into the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí collection to present some photographs taken by a series of modern, well-travelled and free-spirited women who chose photography as their form of expression and whose common denominator was Salvador Dalí.
This exhibition is curated by Rosa M. Maurell and Bea Crespo with the scientific direction of Montse Aguer, Director of the Dalí Museums.
The women make themselves visible
From the Centre for Dalinian Studies, we felt it was fitting and just to give visibility to the work of such outstanding women photographers of the 20th century as Denise Bellon, Martha Holmes or Liselotte Strelow. We also recover the pictures taken by women close to the artist, including Valentine Hugo and Anna Laetitia Pecci-Blunt, and, above all, to those attributed to Gala – photographs which allow us to discover Dalí from the very special perspective of his muse.
Púbol Castle is thus a highly significant place in the Dalinian creation: it is a continuation of Portlligat with a personality of its own. It is Dalí’s gift to his wife Gala, to whom he took an oath of allegiance and where he could not gain access without written permission from her. For the past 20 years the castle has also been a space for our temporary exhibitions. These shows allow us to delve deeper into the life and creativity of Salvador Dalí. The exhibition The Women Photograph Dalí brings us the image of the artist from a new and inspiring perspective.
The exhibition in images
Catalogue The Women Photograph Dalí
Texts by Montse Aguer, Director of the Dalí Museums, Rosa M. Maurell and Bea Crespo, curators of this exhibition, and Imma Merino, cultural journalist.
Memorabilia: texts by Luc Dubos, Suzy Embo, Harmon Houghton, Irene Halsman, Oliver Rosenberg Halsman and Marton Radkai.
The catalogue has been designed by Alex Gifreu and is sponsored by “la Caixa” Bank.
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“We live like all artists, we work for what is most important: the chance to express a talent.”
“Yvonne was more than an assistant and more than a muse. She was an artist in her own right, and her creative eye, knowledge of the medium, and delightful sense of humour made an essential contribution to Philippe Halsman’s work.” Irene Halsman and Oliver Halsman Rosenberg daughter and grandson of Yvonne Halsman
“Karen Radkai was also ambitious, with endless amounts of energy, and a kind of resilience that could drive any normal person to distraction. A large part of that energy came from her passion for her work.” Marton Radkai son of Karen Radkai
“I must be forgotten. This has always been my philosophy, every time I have taken photos.” Suzy Embo photographer
“Marcia received an assignment from Associated Press to photograph Salvador Dalí at the St. Regis Hotel in the early spring of 1966. [...] The assignment was one of those decisive moments in anyone’s life, when a chance encounter turns out to be a life-changing event.” Harmon Houghton Marcia Keegan’s husband
“Dalí liked dressing up, and he sent for me to take a picture of him. But that didn’t — seem to be the point: with him you always had to look beyond the obvious.” Michelle Vincenot photographer