South Lamar gallery houses rare Salvador Dali prints

Lilli Hime

Hidden melting clocks, swans that double as elephants and much more are in store for visitors of Art on 5th. As Austin’s largest contemporary gallery, it hosts a diverse array of eclectic art, from “The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss” to past works by Picasso and Andy Warhol. Anyone and everyone is free to come admire the art, and maybe even take something home.

A private collector recently donated their latest attraction, a rare collection of Salvador Dali prints. Art on 5th brandishes an exhibition of over 50 of Dali’s authentic prints, ranging from the 1950s to 1970s and including work from six different series.

Dali’s legacy was fostered by the creative and artistic environment of the art scene at the time. His fame in the United States was born from the love he found in the artwork here.

“He was a painter and sculptor that loved printmaking … [Dali] came to New York and discovered our print makers and the colors were completely different,” said Art on 5th employee Todd Gresley. “He fell in love with what we could do compared to what they could do in Europe. So, he became sort of a U.S. darling for a while.”

Best known for his piece, “The Persistence of Time,” Dali is a legendary name in the art of surrealism. He is critically acclaimed in the genre for the depth that his paintings reach into the subconscious and the shocking images they depict. His style of surrealism carries the viewer into the recesses of his mind and dreams with little to no explanation, often leaving it completely up to interpretation.

“He used to sit there, with a bowl of water under his chin and a paintbrush in his mouth, and all of his paints here and the canvas in front of him,” Gresley said. “And he would just nod off and when his chin hit the water, it would wake him up and he’d grab a paintbrush and start painting what he was dreaming about. Thus surrealism.”

Dali’s work also reflected his interest in spiritualism through recurring themes of tarot cards, heaven and hell, and the empty landscapes of his mind. His paintings always involved, to some extent, the human thought process and the subconscious mind.

Some students of St. Edward’s University that visited the gallery found themselves captivated by Dali’s strangely stirring art work.

“You could definitely tell that there were many elements of art that Salvador Dali used in his work, such as space and shape,” freshman Amanda Braders said.

His work spurred a spirited and intellectual conversation in regards to the different interpretations and meanings of his pieces, ultimately revealing an infinite amount of possibilities.

“After studying art history for several years and having the opportunity to see some of his artwork, nothing compares to it and you can feel the magic through the painting,” freshman Chrystalla Christodoulou said.