Salvador Dalí (1904-1981) returned to Rotterdam. For the last ten months seven of the artist’s works have been away at major Dalí exhibitions in Europe. The triptych Landscape with a Girl Skipping Rope, which is more than four and a half metres wide, was one of the key works in a major retrospective of the Spanish artist staged in the Pompidou Centre in Paris.
The museum celebrated the return of the seven paintings with a unique Dalí exhibition. The prestigious collection of works by Dalí could be seen in all its glory in conjunction with works of art by early Surrealists like Max Ernst, Yves Tanguy and Giorgio de Chirico. The display also included a number of eye-catching pieces, among them the sensual Mae West Lips Sofa (1938). Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has one of the five examples that were made of this world-famous piece of furniture. Along with the paintings there were ready-mades and assemblies by Dalí, Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp. These are three-dimensional objects put together from all manner of materials and ‘found objects’.
The exhibition was strengthened by three exceptional Dalís from the collection of the Museo Nacional Centre d’Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, which rarely travel. One was a painting of a figure of a woman in front of a window, which Dalí painted when he was twenty-one. The museum will also be showing an extraordinary portrait Man Ray made in 1936, to which Dalí then added minute decoration. The three works are the Reina Sofía’s way of thanking Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen for its generous loan of two Dalí oil paintings for their exhibition.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has an extraordinarily broad collection of Surrealist art of outstanding quality, which is unique in the Netherlands. It is entirely due to curator Renilde Hammacher-van den Brande that the museum now has such an exceptional and extensive collection. In the 1970s she bought key works like the bronze Vénus de Milo aux trois tiroirs (1936/1964). Hammacher also curated the major Dalí exhibition in 1970; the artist marked the event by visiting Rotterdam. Surrealism has remained an important area of collection. The museum also purchased work recently – including the oil painting Paysage avec nuages roses by Yves Tanguy in 2007 and Métronome, an object by Dalí, in 2011. Both works are also included in the new exhibit.