The outdoor patio features advertisements for automobile tires, empty bottles in the mold of bullfighters and a sofa fashioned like Mae West's lips.
The home, especially Dalí's work studio, has great windows with breathtaking views of the sea. You can see fishing boats gently rocking on shimmering water. As the quiet, tiny waves lap toward the land, the reflection of the sun makes it seem as though they are carrying flickering lights.
The castle at Púbol tells us a great deal about Dalí's love for Gala. He idolized her and became completely dependent on her. His later religious paintings usually feature Gala as the model for the Virgin Mary or some other saint. So much is lavished on her in this castle that you have to shake your head at his penchant for excess.
Gala's castle in Púbol is the most difficult of the three museums to find, yet 85,000 visitors come to see it every year. Dalí refurbished a ruined mansion and its grounds, decorated it to Gala's taste, and presented it to her as a castle in May 1970 when she was 75.
The castle is fitted as if Dalí and Gala were really a royal couple with elegant bright red and blue canopies over the beds. There is even a sumptuous room with a gilded throne for Dalí.
While she was alive, Gala used the castle as a private retreat, staying for a few weeks at a time, especially during summers. Dalí was not welcome unless he showed up with an invitation on an engraved card sent out by Gala. A collection of those cards is on display.
In the attic is an exhibit of Gala's gala dresses — gowns from such designers as Christian Dior, Pierre Cardin and Dalí himself.
The castle has some significant Dalí touches, including a portrait of Gala as an angel guarding her private rooms, but the Púbol's garden is its most Dalí-esque feature.
Dalí sculpted several samples of one of the most striking symbols of his later paintings: elephants that prance on long, spindly legs. He also designed a pool with a fountain that features more than a dozen heads of Richard Wagner, his favorite composer.
Gala served as Dalí's muse, manager, love and psychological support for more than 50 years. When she died in June 1982 at age 87, Dalí, who was 10 years younger, fell apart. He became ill and depressed and could barely work.
Gala is buried in the basement of the castle. Dalí tried to live in the castle for a while, but a bedroom fire ended his stay in 1984. He moved into an apartment in the Torre Galatea in Figueres, where he lived until his death.
IN SPAIN, THE COMPLETE Dali
More than a century after his birth, Salvador Dalí remains an enigma, his work suggesting both genius and madness, often in the same piece. To understand Spain's master Surrealist, an aficionado must travel to his native Catalonia. Along the sun-drenched Costa Brava, his spirit suffuses his museum in Figueres and his homes in Púbol and Port Lligat: Rain falls inside a Cadillac, and furniture shaped like pouty lips appears to flirt. Elephants prance, and a beating heart seems to give life to a brooch. It is in these pieces and places that Dalí is fully rendered. It is an extraordinary portrait.
The artist's Surrealist landscape, on view in the U.S. and in Spain
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