Who really was Gala?


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For the first time an international exhibition aims to unravel who was Gala: muse, artist, indispensable character of contemporary art of the twentieth century and … a great unknown?

The Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation and the National Museum of Art of Catalonia in Barcelona open these questions in the exhibition ' Gala Salvador Dalí', open to the public from July 6 to October 14.

In an unpublished way you can see here 40 works that come mainly from the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation, but also from private collections and international museums such as the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, the Haggerty Museum of Art in Milwakee or the Georges Pompidou Art Center in Paris, among others.

The exhibition reveals, through 315 paintings, drawings, photographs, etc., the changes in the image of Gala through its different performances, reflected by Salvador Dalí's brushes; and also allows to follow the evolution of the painter thanks to an important set of oils and drawings.

In addition, a set of letters, postcards and books, dresses and objects from Gala's personal dressing table are exhibited for the first time. And next to Dalí's oil paintings and drawings, a selection of works by other artists that gravitated in the surrealist universe, especially around Gala, such as Max Ernst, Picasso, Man Ray, Cecil Beaton or Brassaï is presented.

Salvador Dalí. Gala Placídia. Galatea de les esferes, 1952

Salvador Dali. Placidy Gala. Galatea de les esferes, 1952 © Salvador Dalí, Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation, VEGAP, Barcelona, ​​2018 © © Salvador Dalí, Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation, VEGAP, Barcelona, ​​2018


Helena Dmitrievna Diakonova, Gala, (Kazan, 1894 - Portlligat, 1982) was one of the most emblematic characters of the avant-garde of the twentieth century . He met Dalí in 1929 and never again separated from him, but he had previously married and had been a mother with the poet Paul Éluard, whom he helped on his way to success. As he would do with Dalí later, so it is difficult to conceive of it only as a muse, because as he tries to explain the exhibition, it was a key and powerful piece in the path of both couples towards their professional and artistic success.

The exhibition discovers a Gala that camouflages itself as a muse while building her own path as an artist: she writes, performs surrealist objects and decides how she wants to present herself and represent herself, in addition to becoming essential in Dalí's artistic development, with whom she forms a third character who The painter himself admits in a double signature: Gala Salvador Dalí .

Never before has an exhibition dedicated to Gala been proposed in the international arena, partly because of the preconceptions regarding his person and, in part, because of the extreme fragility of many of the essential pieces to reconstruct his portrait.

Salvador Dalí. Dalí de espaldas pintando a Gala de espaldas eternizada por seis córneas virtuales provisionalmente reflejadas en seis espejos verdaderos, 1972-1973. Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, Figueres.

Salvador Dali. Dalí on his back painting Gala on his back eternalized by six virtual corneas provisionally reflected in six true mirrors, 1972-1973. Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, Figueres. © Salvador Dalí, Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation, VEGAP, Barcelona, ​​2018


Dalí gives Gala the Castle of Púbol in Girona, as a sign of her love, because she wanted her own space to feel queen and develop her artistic potential, away from the hustle and bustle of Portlligat, Dalí's house .

In 1971, through an extensive photo report of Marc Lacroix in Vogue magazine, the Castle of Púbol was shown to the world. Dalí himself presented it as a gift of "courteous love" to his wife. And what did that mean? Dalí could only enter with the invitation of Gala, in honor of this literary concept of the Middle Ages in which love was represented in a chivalrous manner.

Castillo de Púbol en Girona.

Castle of Púbol in Girona. © Alamy

The Castle, open to the public, is where the painter Dalí spent his last days when his muse died and, although a part was burned, you can see the recreation of his rooms, kitchen, and of course, his works of art. In fact, she was buried right there in her castle.

El castillo fue un regalo de Dalí.

The castle was a gift from Dalí. © Alamy