Thinking and then painting outside the box

Dalí’s paintings at WAG for first time.

By Gordon Gage

HAP54007W00018CIf you ever wanted to visualize what it might mean to “think outside the box”, then perhaps a visit to the current Salvador Dalí exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) would be a good place to start. Dalí Up Close is extended till February 22, 2015 at the WAG and represents the first time this world renowned artist has been shown here in Winnipeg.

The opportunity to see Dalí’s work is part of a much larger offering at the WAG titled “Masterworks from the Beaverbrook Art Gallery – Dalí Up Close.” Dalí Up Close presents major paintings, watercolours, drawings, jewelry and sculpture by surrealist master Salvador Dalí, as well as the celebrated photographs produced with Philippe Halsman.

Halsman photographed some of the most iconic figures of the mid-20th century, with 101 Life magazine covers to his credit. He met Dalí in 1941, and their fruitful collaboration lasted 37 years.

Dr. Stephen Borys, director and CEO of the WAG, stated, “I knew it would be wonderful to bring Dalí to Winnipeg. The Beaverbrook exhibition features three important paintings by Dalí (Santiago El Grande, La Turbie, and Equestrian Fantasy), and this for me was reason enough to bring the show to Winnipeg.

“The great Santiago El Grande, rarely travels and when it does, it can only go to a museum that has large enough door openings and ceilings to accommodate it. Its sheer size – over four metres high – easily overwhelms the visitor, and the subject is equally breathtaking.”

Dr Borys continues: “The work represents a key moment in Dalí’s career. He considered it to be one of his most important works, and some scholars have called it one of the most significant works in the history of modern art.”

Salvador Dalí was born in Spain in May 1904 and worked as a skilled draftsman but was best known for the striking and often bizarre images in his surrealist work. His artistic work is thought to have been attributed to the influence of the Renaissance masters and his expansive repertoire included film, sculpture and photography created in collaboration with a range of artists in a variety of media.

Dalí was highly creative and imaginative and was known to indulge in unusual and grandiose behaviour. His character and eccentric manner can certainly be seen in his exceptional and thought provoking artwork. Dalí’s artistic career continued until his health deteriorated in the early 1980s leaving him unable to continue his unique work. He died in 1989 in his home country of Spain at the age of 84.

Salvador Dalí’s work is extraordinary, colourful and thought provoking, leaving one with a sense of awe trying to imagine what the artist was thinking about when creating these masterworks. You can certainly say that he thought “out of the box” and was a master at it.

Don’t miss this opportunity to view perhaps the most famous of the world’s surrealistic painters right here in Winnipeg at the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Dalí Up Close, on until Feb. 22. For more information visit or call 204-786-6641.