Ten things to know about Dalí: The Late Work

Curator Elliott King shared insights into the exhibit that opens this Saturday, August 7.


  • Elliott King speaks in front of “Santiago El Grande”

Curator Elliott King hosted a short walk through of Dalí: The Late Work at the High Museum this morning and shared a few insights into the exhibit that opens this Saturday, August 7.

1. “The Late Work” is definitely not synonymous with Dalí’s most celebrated work. In an article for the Guardian just a few years ago, the critic Robert Hughes said “most Dalí after the late-30s became either kitschy repetition of old motifs or vulgarly pompous piety on a Cinamascope scale.” This being the first major exhibition of his work after 1940, King said that he hopes the exhibit will “change the way a lot of people feel about Dalí’s later work.”

2. For the first time in decades, the large paintings “Christ of St. John of the Cross,” “Assumpta Corpuscularia Lapislazulina,” and “Santiago El Grande” will be seen in the US. Even the curator, King, hadn’t seen “Assumpta Corpuscularia Lapislazulina” in person before working on this exhibit.

3. Aside from those classically influenced works, there’s plenty of kitsch in the exhibit, too. Especially entertaining are a series of rarely seen society portraits that were commissioned by wealthy Hollywood types but outright mock the subjects. Jack Warner apparently hated his own portrait so much that he had it hung in his dog’s kennel.

4. Along with the standard audio tour, the museum is offering an audio tour for children that’s narrated by a singing mustache. Seriously.

5. The pencil study for “The Madonna of Port Lligat” is a helpful clue to the ways he started playing with the influence of masters like Da Vinci and Velázquez, incorporating careful geometric patterns and religious iconography.