Originally created 06/12/04

Salvador Dali exhibit, sale opens in Fort Worth



FORT WORTH, Texas -- From a nearly $500,000 oil painting to dream-inspired watercolors for less than $2,000, hundreds of Salvador Dali's works are for sale in Texas.

To commemorate what would have been the Spanish artist's 100th birthday, the Salvador Dali Gallery in Pacific Palisades, Calif., is showing and selling more than 600 pieces at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center starting Friday and continuing through June 27.

"He's the most collected artist in the world, with 40 million worldwide collectors," Bruce Hochman, Dali gallery director, said. "We have his well-known pieces and things no one expected to see."

The gallery, which holds traveling exhibits and sales about once a year, was wooed to Texas by the Fort Worth Cultural Center of the Americas, which focuses on Latino art in its mission to expose children to the arts.

The Dali works could not be shown in a museum because they are for sale, and the Fort Worth center fit the collection's need for 15,000 square feet, cultural center director Helen Sides said.

Art experts say selling so many pieces at once from one artist is unusual.

"For that scale, I would say it's uncommon but (understandable) given the fact that it's a celebration of the centennial of his birth," said Lora Sariaslan, assistant curator at the Dallas Museum of Art, which is running its own 34-piece Dali exhibit through August.

Dali, who was part of the surrealist movement and who was greatly influenced by Sigmund Freud's writings on the erotic significance of the subconscious, died in 1989.

In Fort Worth, the most expensive item - $450,000 - is an oil-on-canvas portrait of a New York socialite, "Mrs. Bryce," which shows rich details in her hands and face and features some of Dali's signature surreal elements - including a small flying tree in the background.

The one-of-a-kind piece is so expensive because Dali did not do many oil portraits, Hochman said. The least expensive are dozens of woodblock engraving and watercolor pictures in the "Divine Comedy" set for $1,950 each.

Also for sale are two impressive pieces Dali did at age 10 in 1914: an oil-on-board painting for $300,000, and a watercolor for $95,000.

Several pieces feature melting clocks, a recurring theme in Dali's works: two cast bronze sculptures called "The Nobility of Time," a small one for $25,000 and a large one for $300,000; and two cast bronze sculptures called "Horse Saddled With Time," a small one with a removable clock in the shape of a saddle for $25,000 and an almost life-size one for $300,000.

The clocks also show up in a $25,000 lithograph of his famous painting, "Persistence of Memory," and a $25,000 woven cotton printed tapestry of the same name.

Several pieces have already been sold. Among the few not for sale is a bronze bust of President Kennedy, which is covered in paper clips "symbolizing that he was mired in bureaucracy," Hochman said.

The collection isn't just for people who want to buy the pieces, Hochman said. Tickets to view the exhibit are $10 for adults and $8 for students and senior citizens.

"I love to bring the wonderment of Dali to communities like this," he said.

On the Net:

Fort Worth Community Arts Center: www.fwcac.com

Dali exhibit: www.Dali100.com

Salvador Dali Gallery: www.daligallery.com