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Dali Museum to get new home

From the Associated Press

Salvador Dali never set foot in St. Petersburg, Fla., where the dominant art form is the watercolor beachscape.

But in a strange twist worthy of one of the Spanish Surrealist master’s paintings, St. Petersburg will soon be home to a $30-million museum to house the world’s most comprehensive collection of Dali’s work.

St. Petersburg snatched up the private Dali collection in 1982 when more likely locales, such as New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, balked at its owner’s strict conditions. Ohio philanthropists A. Reynolds and Eleanor Morse were charmed by the city’s eclectic offer of an old boat warehouse to display their collection.

Like a lot of things in Florida these days, a 14-year-old plan to build a more fitting -- and sturdy -- home for the collection was kicked into high gear by the hyperactive hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005.

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“Right from the start, it was the safety of the collection that was motivating thinking about this,” said Hank Hines, the Dali Museum’s director. “The new building has been created to protect the collection.... It will be engineered to withstand 165 mph winds, which is really the top you can do practically and still have doors.”

Groundbreaking is set for early next year. The new facility will open in 2010.

Preliminary designs call for a 56,000-square-foot building, about 50% larger than the current building. Hines said the new space will allow the museum to display more of the 1,400 pieces in its collection.


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