More on NYC: Dali, Dante and Wonderland

I wanted to share a little bit more from my Spring visit to New York.  A few days ago, I posted “Broadway”, my favorite image from the day.  The day trip was organized by the Greater Norristown Art League and included a visit to the American Water Color Society.  My Mom joined me for the day, adding a little quality bonding time into the mix.  As our first order of business, we explored Soho, stumbling upon a gem of an exhibit featuring the following prints from Dali at the William Bennet Gallery on Green Street.

Salvador Dali’s Alice in Wonderland Suite: The 12 prints (heliogravures) were created as illustrations for Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”.  A true collaboration of the highest creative standards. If I had to choose a favorite, the Mad Tea Party (shown below, top right) would be a lovely addition to my home. A girl can dream, right?

Also on exhibit were selected prints from Dali’s illustrations of Dante’s Divine Comedy. I read Dante over a decade ago at the suggestion of a friend and was immediately captivated by the epic poem.  Turning the gallery corner to see these prints was a wonderful surprise.

Over the course of nine years, Dali created 101 watercolor drawings to illustrate his interpretation of Dante’s work.  The drawings were later reproduced using wood engravings.  Engravers carved approximately 35 blocks per drawing to produce the prints. It is a stunning body of work.  Viewing the few pieces on display at the gallery has prompted me to delve deeper into the world of this renowned artist and more specifically, his Dante suite. I am off to dig out my copy of the poem to take another pass as I can now combine a new reading experience with the visual representation from Dali.

I may also have to revisit another Dante text.  As his muse, his inspiration and ultimately his proclaimed life’s love, Beatrice (shown below) appears not only as Dante’s guide throughout the Divine Comedy but also in his collection of poetry and prose, solely devoted to her, La Vita Nuova (A New Life).  It is through this older text that I was first introduced to her and then met her again, ten years later, in this gallery.


It is highly enjoyable to live again in the art world and revisit its history. I paid attention in class, really I did. Yet my interest, and retention, seems greater now. Perhaps it is because I am older.  I have passed through the phase in which I knew everything. I have moved through the period when I had little time to think about anything except work and a baby and have landed “here”.  I have time. I have a capacity for appreciation. And most importantly, I have the desire to find more – more explanation, more meaning, more inspiration. This is a good time.

~ Beth

It was only one day, but there is one more post to share!  Look for “NYC Part Three” this week…

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