Painting, mixed media


Past: November 21, 2012 → March 25, 2013

The Centre Pompidou pays tribute to one of the most complex and prolific artists of the 20th century: Salvador Dali. More than thirty years after it was hosted by the institution, the 1979 retrospective devoted to his work remains the most successful exhibition in the history of the Centre Pompidou.

Dali is one of the undisputed masters in the history of modern art and one of its most popular figures at the same time. A highly controversial artist, his theatricality and greed (his nickname was “Avida Dollars”) as well as his provocative political stances were often derided.

This new exhibition does not shy away from the sheer impact of his work to which his own larger- than-life persona, in turns genial and grotesque, is so intricately woven.

Over two hundred works (paintings, sculptures, drawings, etc.) are presented in a succession of chronological thematic themed sections: • the dialogue between the artist’s eye and brain and those of the viewer; • the pioneer of performance art, creating ephemeral works of art and manipulating the media as someone who considered art as a global means of communication; • Questioning the figure (persona) of the artist in the face of tradition.

Dali never stops luring the viewer between two infinities, hovering between the infinitely small and the infinitely large, polarizing contractions and expansions. He switches from meticulous Flemish precision ( in a reference to Vermeer) to the showy baroque of tradition that he used in his museum-theatre in Figueras. This oscillation is based on a general questioning of identity: his dead brother, also named Salvador, the confusion of dreams and reality, hermaphrodism, are all evidences of his duplicated world. .

This in-between also points to a precise moment in history and to a specific generation, that of inter-war years, of the rise of totalitarian regimes, ideological confrontations, migrations, and intertwined art scenes (Paris / Barcelona / New York).

Among the masterpieces presented in Paris are some of Dali’s most revered icons: The Persistence of Memory (Melting watches), 1931, Le Grand Masturbateur, 1929, Le Spectre du Sex appeal, 1934 as well as L’Énigme sans fin, 1938. The exhibition will also offer the opportunity to discover more than a hundred works on paper, objects, projects for stage and screen, films, photographs and excerpts from television programmes that reflect the intense activity of the artist turned “showman”.

The retrospective maps out the whole body of work and casts light on Dali’s character through a remarkable selection of major works, thanks to a very close collaboration with the Museo Nacional Reina Sofia in Madrid, which will host the exhibition from 23 April to 2 September 2013, and a joint contribution from the Fundació Dali, Figueras and the Salvador Dali Museum, St Petersburg, Florida.

The exhibition also shows the countless ephemeral works created by Dali in front of an audience or a camera, which made him a precursor of performance art and happenings.

Head Curator: Jean-Hubert Martin Curators: Montse Aguer, Jean-Michel Bouhours, Thierry Dufrêne

04 Beaubourg Zoom in 04 Beaubourg Zoom out

Place Georges Pompidou

75004 Paris

T. 01 44 78 12 33 — F. 01 44 78 16 73


Hôtel de Ville

Opening hours

Every day except Tuesday, 11 AM – 9 PM
Late night on Thursday until 11 PM
ATTENTION : A compter du samedi 17 octobre 2020, tous les espaces du Centre Pompidou (les Galeries, le Musée, la Bpi, les salles de spectacles et de cinéma) fermeront à 20h. Les derniers accès aux expositions se feront à 18h.

Admission fee

Full rate €14.00 — Concessions €11.00

Gratuit pour les moins de 18 ans, billet exonéré pour les moins de 26 ans. Et pour tout le monde, les premiers dimanches du mois.

Venue schedule

The artist

  • Salvador Dali