El Salvador Dalí Museum is an art museum located in the center of the city of Saint Petersburg, Florida, United States. It houses Salvador Dalí’s largest collection of paintings outside the European continent.
Before they married in 1942, the couple, Albert Reynolds Morse and Eleanor Morse, attended a retrospective of Dalí’s work at the Cleveland Museum of Art. After being intrigued by the theme of the Spanish painter and impressed by their artistic ability, they decided to buy a year later his first work entitled Spider of the night … esperanza.1 The purchase marked the beginning of a relationship of patronage and friendship of forty years with Dalí and resulted in an exhaustive collection of paintings by the artist.
In 1965 the Morse lent two hundred works from his collection for a retrospective of the artist and at that moment they realized that after collecting Dalí’s paintings for twenty-five years they had generated a small retrospective of the painter who needed a permanent place to be exposed. Coupled with this was the couple’s fear that the works they had so painstakingly collected would be dispersed after his death, which led to the idea of establishing a museum.2 Until 1971 the works were exhibited at his private residence in Cleveland. , Ohio. That same year, the couple opened a museum adjacent to their office in Beachwood, Ohio, and the inauguration was presided over by Dalí. At the end of the decade and with an overwhelming number of visitors, the Morse decided to look for a new location for their collection. After a search that drew national attention, an abandoned maritime warehouse was chosen on the coast of St. Petersburg, Florida, and it was rehabilitated to house Dalí’s work. The museum opened its doors on March 10, 1982.
A new location for the Dalí Museum was announced in mid-2008, which was inaugurated on January 11, 2011. The new building was designed by the architectural firm HOK and was built facing the sea and next to the Mahaffey Theater. A part of the exterior of the building is composed of a large glass skylight that marks the entrance to the museum.