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MEETING ONE OF THE TRUE EXPERTS


The large exhibition currently at the High Museum in Atlanta is about to end. SALVADOR DALI: THE LATE WORKS was guest curated by Elliott H. King, a Dali scholar who received his PhD at the University of Essex where he worked closely with Dawn Ades. He has focused on the art created by Dali after 1940–a period that has been critically dismissed by many as inferior to his earlier works. “Not so” says Dr. King and demonstrates in the exhibition that the Master created numerous very important works in the years from 1940 to 1980.

It is the creative period during which Dali painted “Santiago El Grande” (1957); “The Ecumenical Council” (1960); “Christ of St. John of the Cross” (1951); “Madonna of Port Lligat” (1950) and numerous other significant works, including portraits. King’s curatorial triumph, however, was acquiring the loan of “Assumpta Corpusculaire Lapislazuline” (1952) from a Spanish collection. This exhibition clearly demonstrates that the years covered were filled with more than just the commercial commissions and public shenanigans. In other words, it is an important contribution to the study of Dali and an eye-opener for the critical dismissers.

On the way back from a pre-Christmas family visit, Melinda and I had the great pleasure of having lunch with Elliott King who generously showed up with a catalog of the exhibition as a gift. It is a beautiful publication and includes essays by other Dali scholars including Hank Hine, Director of The Salvador Dali Museum and William Jeffett, Chief Curator of Exhibitions at the Dali Museum.

What an intense hour and a half that was. Both Elliott and I jammed as much information and perspective-sharing into it as possible. I am quite sure it was the beginning of an enjoyable friendship characterized by mutual trust and the sharing of more information and perspectives. We first met in 2004 at the Dali centennial symposia at The Salvador Dali Museum, but did not have any time together.

I’m excited that we’ll next meet in Atlanta for the final couple of days of the exhibition. Elliott is scheduled to participate in the 31 hour Dali Till Dawn event. He’ll be giving three “insomniac tours” of the show at 1 a.m., 3 a.m., and 5 a.m.!!! Perhaps I can bring him coffee. Details and tickets are to be found at www.high.org.

On January 10th, both Elliott and I will fly to Tampa and drive to St.Petersburg for the January 11th Grand Opening of the new Salvador Dali Museum. You can check out the schedule of events at www.salvadordalimuseum.org. I am really looking forward to seeing the next stage in the phenomenal advances that have been made since my first visit with Ren and Eleanor Morse in 1987 at the time that I did my first (of three) appraisal of the collection.

There will be several postings in early January that will share with you my experiences at the High and Dali Museums. I believe this will be a great way to kick off a year in which I expect to regain whatever reputation and prestige the low life in the Dali market have tried to tarnish. As John Pope Hessey wrote, “Dedication to the truth can gain one many enemies.”

For my supporters, well-wishers, clients and good guys, I send my very best for a rewarding 2011. Peace on Earth to men of good will.