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New Dalí Museum

September 12, 2023
A black-and-white photograph of the surrealist artist Salvador Dalí holding his pet ocelot.

Salvador Dalí (and his pet ocelot Babou)

Salvador Dalí already has a museum dedicated to him. The Dalí Theater and Museum is located in the Catalonian town of Figueres, his hometown about 70 miles northeast of Barcelona, close to the border with France. It was originally the town’s municipal theater, which the artist transformed into a museum for his work in the 1960s. Not only did the famous Spanish surrealist live in a part of the building during his final years, but he was also buried there. And now, the town will get another Dalí museum in his old family home just 400 meters down the street.

After four years of renovations and preparations, the Salvador Dalí Birthplace (Casa Natal de Salvador Dalí) will finally open its doors. Turning the artist’s childhood home into a museum has been a project nearly thirty years in the making. The town council of Figueres originally bought the ground floor of the building in 1996. This was where Dalí’s father had his office as a notary. A few years later, the council also purchased the building’s mezzanine, where the family apartment was. Over the years, it has refurbished the space, both inside and out, adding up to about €1.9 million. The town council, the regional council of Girona, the Generalitat de Catalunya, and the European Union have all had a hand in helping the project along.

The museum was originally set to open in July, but delays set back the opening date. “There is no other site in the world that explains the person and the character of Dalí, hence the necessity to explain where it all began,” said Eduard Bech, director of the Empordà Museum, also in Figueres. The museum will almost be a foil to the Dalí Theater and Museum, as the birthplace museum will be a far more intimate look at the artist. The museum will explore daily life in the town in the early twentieth century and the artist’s relationships with his family members. For example, Dalí had a difficult relationship with his father, who threw him out of the house and disinherited him at 25 in 1929. Of course, it wasn’t that exact house. When Dalí was seven years old, the family moved to a building closer to Palmera Plaza. Visitors can also view faded drawings on the walls of Dalí’s old bedroom. Though we don’t know for sure who created them, I think most people have a pretty good idea.

The Salvador Dalí Birthplace will open in Figueres on October 20th.