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Current Exhibitions

Stairway to Heaven: Life and Death in the Visions of Salvador Dalí

Illustrations for Les Chants de Maldoror and The Divine Comedy

December 4, 2020 – February 8, 2021

Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) is among the most recognized and eccentric artists of the 20th century. He layered the surreal imagery of his “paranoiac-critical method” onto hundreds of artworks, including paintings, theatrical designs, films, architecture, sculptures, jewelry and fine art prints, such as those featured in Life and Death in the Visions of Salvador Dalí. Created for two publications, the artworks in this exhibition signal two distinct periods in Dalí’s career: the hedonism of his youth and the redemption he sought later in life. These two sets of artworks also signal his transition from Surrealism to Mysticism, which can be seen in this exhibition through his unwavering technical mastery in printmaking and draftsmanship.  With nearly 150 individual artworks on view, this exhibition provides an expansive selection to interpret Dalí‘s dream-like subjects.


Dalí was born and academically trained in Spain. Instead of finishing his education, the burgeoning artist went to Paris where he was surrounded by modern painters such as Pablo Picasso, René Magritte and Joan Miró. However, his romantic painting style and fine draftsmanship, as well as his unusual tactics of attracting attention, gained him a home with the growing Surrealist movement of the 1920s. His technical skill and his audacious self-promotion cemented his popularity. This early and shocking imagery was later replaced with ethereal and religious subjects that further endeared an ever-widening patron base to his mystical subjects.


Under the influence of intimate friends and poets such as Federico García Lorca and André Breton, Dalí became equally infatuated with the sadistic and amoral subjects of the Surrealist icon, the Count of Lutréamont (pseudonym of the French Uruguayan romantic poet Isidore Lucien Ducasse). Dalí was soon asked to supply illustrations for a reprinting of the Count of Lutréamont’s epic poem, Les Chants de Maldoror (1868-9). The artist created 44 original intaglio prints for the publication. Less illustrations of the Maldoror narrative, Dalí’s prints are more like the early paintings that he was creating at this time – a personal reflection into his own mental health and dramatic lifestyle. This was among his earliest book projects; however, Dalí would supply artworks for dozens of publications in his lifetime, including Shakespearean plays, Alice in Wonderland and The Divine Comedy, to name a few.


Dalí originally began illustrating The Divine Comedy as a commission by the Italian state with papal approval, to commemorate the 700-year anniversary of the birth of its author, the poet Dante Alighieri. Due to Dalí’s Spanish heritage and early blasphemous attitude, his agreement to illustrate this centrally important biblical Italian text fell through. Instead, he personally oversaw the creation of woodblock prints replicating all 100 of the watercolors he produced for the project. From an astounding 3,500 individually carved printing blocks, the series of prints was produced over four long years. The result was a portfolio of 100 fine art prints corresponding to The Divine Comedy and among the most expensive books ever produced.

Toni Frissell: In Italy with the Tuskegee Airmen

January 8, 2021 – February 28, 2021

The imminent fashion and society photographer, Toni Frissell (1907-88), held several official positions with the American Red Cross, the Women’s Army Corp and the US Air Force to document World War II. This exhibition highlights her images of the Tuskegee Airmen, the 332d Fighter Group, from the collection of the Library of Congress.

This exhibition is being held in conjunction with the Annual Citywide Black History Month Celebration which happens each February. It is a series of events highlighting local Black history, culture, art, music, and theater.

Learn more about related events here.

Upcoming Exhibitions


Out of the Vault:  Modern and Contemporary Art 

March 5, 2021 – June 20, 2021


In Fresh Air: Impressionism and the Plein Air Movement

March 5, 2021 – June 20, 2021


Award Winners XXI

June 4, 2021 – July 18, 2021


Winslow Homer: From Poetry to Fiction – The Engraved Works

July 2, 2021 – October 17, 2021


Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray

November 5, 2021 – February 23, 2022

Check back frequently – exhibition and event details are updated often!