Salvador Dalí. It’s safe to assume that even just reading the name of this surrealist Catalan painter, conjures up a certain image – maybe even several – black and white photographs of a young artist, showing off his waxed, twirling, fantastical moustache. Halsman’s iconic photos are indeed perfect examples of the artist’s creativity, even as a subject. But they’re not the only ones. A new photo exhibition on Dalí shows you even more, with portraits taken by renowned British photographer Robert Whitaker.
On display at the Dalí Museum in the northern town of Figueres, the exhibition opens on May 30, and will run for a year as a temporary installation. Some 27 pieces are featured, all but two capturing the years between 1967 and 1972 in the northern Catalan town of Portlligat. The photos constitute just a small part of the negatives that the Gala-Dalì Foundation acquired from Whitaker’s son.
Dalí and Whitaker met in 1967, but their relationship, according to the photographer, started much earlier. It all began when Whitaker’s parents gifted him a book of Dalí’s art. Fascinated, the British photographer made cut outs, remaking it into a collage. Montse Aguer, director of the Dalì Museums, explained that in each other, the two found a kindred spirit. ‘They really shared that feeling of provocation, of freedom,’ she explained, ‘a scenic, ironic, and intelligent feeling through which to view art.’
Robert Whitaker was born in England in 1939 to Australian parents, and died in 2011. He is perhaps most well-known for his iconic photos of the Beatles, as well as the image of the band Cream, which featured on their album cover ‘In Gear.’ His work ran the gamut from photos featured in Vogue magazine, to conflict photojournalism in Vietnam, Cambodia, Pakistan, and Israel.