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The house that Dali built

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We all come from our childhood… and it’s not just a beautiful phrase. Cadaques is a village by the sea, where the Dali family spent summers. It has become Salvador Dali`s artistic harbor for the whole life. Here is the story in pictures about this wonderful village and The Salvador Dalí House-museum in Cadaques where Dalí lived and worked from 1930 until 1982. Take a picturesque journey to the place where Salvador Dali`s life is most tangible.
Eeven the most shocking personalities like Salvador Dali need some "unshocking" space to reflect and create.
In 1925 Dali invited his friend Gabriel Garcia Lorca to his parents' summer house. They studied together in the University in Madrid and lived together at Poplar hill (that was how the student hostel was called). Lorca called the landscape
The development of the genre from antiquity to the present day: how did religion and the invention of oil painting contribute to the development of the genre in Europe, and why was the Hudson River so important? Read more
of Cadaques and its surroundings "eternal, modern and gorgeous", and the evening strolls in olive groves were no more and no less than walking on the "Holy earth."
As you get there, you are fascinated by this small fishing village and the reserved Cape Creuse. Perhaps, this magical, enchanting beauty of pristine nature gave birth to a mystical artist as Dali was.
The great Lorca dedicated the Ode to Dali with its he last lines being:

"Always in the air, dress and undress your brush
before the sea peopled with sailors and ships"

Salvador Dali followed the advice of his friend. It happened four years later.
Federico Garcia Lorca and Salvador Dali
In the summer of 1929 in his native Cadaques he met Gala. She arrived with her husband Paul Eluard, already a famous poet, and stayed here till the end of her life with a young artist Dali.

"I name my wife: Gala, Galushka, Gradiva; Oliva, for the oval shape of her face and the colour of her skin; Oliveta, diminutive for Olive; and its delirious derivatives Oliueta, Oriueta, Buribeta, Buriueteta, Suliueta, Solibubuleta, Oliburibuleta, Ciueta, Liueta. I also call her Lionette, because when she gets angry she roars like the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lion", wrote Dali
Here in the bay of Port Lligat near Cadaques they will soon have their own house and studio. This very place was the only house that belonged to Dali all his life.

Why is it that artist's house was here, on this wild shore far from civilization?


The beaches of Cadaques remained as the most magical memories of his childhood. Salvador Dali often described this place in his diary as the only place where he felt "deep calmness".

The first house of Dali and Gala was a fishing shack of about 20 square meters. Dali called it a "biological structure". To the first
"cage" it has gradually been added the second and third, from 1935 to 1960 the house and terraces around it were constantly under reconstruction. But the view from the windows of the studio always remained unchanged — the view of the Bay of Port Lligat with barges and fishermen as Lorca bequeathed once.

The house stands in an olive grove on the hillside, and it took the whole day to get here on mountain serpentines from Figueiras. Can we call it a house? It looks like huts, one taped to another, each year bleached with lime anew both inside and outside according to the local tradition of lime. There`s a garden near the house, terraces on the hill, planted with olive trees, white path to the sea with the imprint of Gala`s hand and foot, called the "milky way". In the main courtyard there`s a sundial on a rickety wall, the skeleton of the ship with a cypress growing through it.

The inside of the house differs from what you might imagine as the home and studio of the flamboyant surrealist Salvador Dali.

A little theatrical hallway surprises right from the doorsteps: the stuffed polar bear that came here from the house in the University street in Paris, holds the stand for business cards in its paws.


The sofa in the form of the famous "Dali lips" covered with green fabric, the crossbow on the wall — the character of one of his paintings. It is the first "cage" where it all began. It once housed kitchen, bedroom and studio. The stairs leads upto the dining room passing into the library. While Dali was painting, Gala usually read to him the "great authors". "I wasn’t listening, but was immersed in the sounds of words", Dali wrote.
Three swans that Dali kept as pets keep watch over the library. Dali apparently loved them so much that at one point (when they were living of course) he had them fitted with helmets affixed with candles so he could watch them glide by in the bay at night.

There are several reproductions in the house, one of them being "Atomic Leda"(Leda Atomica), first exhibited in New York. Dali considered "Leda" as one of his first masterpieces. In order to understand it the master
advised to read the book "50 magic secrets of writing".

Leda Atomica, 1949






The picture depicts Leda, the mythological queen of Sparta, with the swan. Leda is a frontal portrait of Dalí's wife, Gala, who is seated on a pedestal with a swan suspended behind and to her left.
Dali himself described "Leda Atomica" as a picture created "in accordance with the modern ‘nothing touches' theory of intra atomic Physics". "Leda does not touch the swan; Leda does not touch the pedestal; the pedestal does not touch the base; the base does not touch the sea; the sea does not touch the shore.. . ."

Dali had this mirror installed (picture below) so he and Gala could lie in bed and watch the sunrise.

Dali reveals his idea about what should the artist`s workshop be like. The secret is quite simple, "the main thing is to fall madly in love with the scenery outside the window of the studio." It is really hard to disagree with Salvador Dali, as the scenery outside the window makes you fall in love with it from first sight. Indeed, the genius has found its place.
Paintings of Cadaques by Salvador Dali (shown above, from left to right)

Port of Cadaques (Night), c.1918
Landscape
The development of the genre from antiquity to the present day: how did religion and the invention of oil painting contribute to the development of the genre in Europe, and why was the Hudson River so important? Read more
in Cadaqués
Landscape
The development of the genre from antiquity to the present day: how did religion and the invention of oil painting contribute to the development of the genre in Europe, and why was the Hudson River so important? Read more
of Cadaques (c.1923)
Cadaqués (1923)
The Llané beach in Cadaqués (1921)
Written by Olena Burlaka-Gagneux
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