Salvador Dalí and Sigmund Freud: one man's art, another man's theories. The theories of Freud clearly fascinated Dalí, perhaps to the point of obsession – his greatest desire was to someday meet his idol. He made multiple unsuccessful attempts at contact, including a trip to Vienna in April 1937 that also failed to produce an introduction. Finally, at the urging of Austrian writer Stefan Zweig and the poet Edward James, Freud agreed to a meeting in London in July 1938. This comprehensive exhibition illustrates the obsession for the psychoanalytical in the work of the Surrealists, particularly as it is present in Dali's surrealist pictorial world.
Curated by Jaime Brihuega.
In cooperation with
In London in 1938 Salvador Dalí finally met Sigmund Freud, who had recently fled Vienna – the first and only meeting between the artist and his idol. Unfortunately, however, Dalí's ambitious wish to garner Freud's endorsement for his Paranoiac Critical method remained unfulfilled. Yet the founder of psychoanalysis was subsequently much more impressed than he had expected to be, and came to reconsider his earlier ambivalence towards Surrealism.
The Belvedere is showcasing – with over 100 pieces including paintings, surrealist objects, photographs, films, books, journals, letters, and other documents – Dalí's unique personality against the backdrop of his complex family and follows him from his discovery of Freud's writings to his meeting with the psychoanalyst in exile in London on 19 July 1938.
For the young artist, reading the Interpretation of Dreams became one of the most significant discoveries of his life. In Freud's writings Dalí found the key to hidden fears, desires, and obsessions. This led him to explore the poetics of Surrealism in 1926 and to develop a new visual language that remains, to this day, unique to his work. Dalí’s meeting in London was his only in-person encounter with the Viennese psychoanalyst. The exhibition also relates the artist's seminal encounters with the poet Federico García Lorca and the filmmaker Luis Buñuel, as well as his time at the Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid. Along with the drawings of nervous tissues by the histologist and Nobel Prize–winner Santiago Ramón y Cajal, they were Dalí's principal inspirations for his Surrealist work.
The part of the show that focuses on the artist's family background highlights how Dalí’s intense psychoanalytical exploration of his complex adolescence shaped his paintings.