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Daily Hours 10:00am - 5:30pm
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Last ticket sold at 5:15pm
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Note: The Museum opens regularly at noon on Sunday and closes at 5:30pm on Fridays. We are pleased to offer extended hours during the Picasso/Dali, Dali/Picasso exhibition (Nov 8, 2014-Feb 16, 2015). Standard Museum hours will resume Feb 17, 2015.


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General Admission: 18-64 $24
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Teens: 13-17 & College: 18+ w/ID $17
Children: 6-12 $10
Children: 5 and younger FREE
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After 5pm on Thursday: Adults $10
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Members receive one year of unlimited free museum admission. Join today.

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Permanent Collection

Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea

Date: 1976
Material Used: Oil and collage on canvas
Size: 99 1/4 x 75 1/2 inches

Dali’s title — “Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea Which at Twenty Meters Becomes the Portrait of Abraham Lincoln (Homage to Rothko)” — provides a perfect description of this painting. Standing close, we see Gala with her back turned to us, looking toward the rising Mediterranean sun. That glowing sun doubles as an image of Christ, seen from above, ascending. In this way Gala directs our attention heavenwards and reminds us of the fleeting nature of beauty. But when we stand further back, twenty meters, as the title prescribes, we can see that the head of Abraham Lincoln fills the entire canvas.

This painting was inspired by a Scientific American article Dali read about visual perception which investigated the minimum number of pixels needed to describe a unique human face. Dali was challenged by that question and set about making this portrait of Lincoln using 121 pixels. In his canvas he pushes this concept of perception and external sight. This double image painting provides a meditation on the dual nature of things. In addition to the theme of sight and insight, the work alludes to themes of life and death and to Dali’s Spanish and American identity. The beauty of Gala is countered by references to mortality, including the focus on the assassinated president, the crucified image of Christ, and the dedication to Mark Rothko, a painter Dali’s age who committed suicide in 1970.

Dali was Spanish, but he considered America his second home. This Spanish / American allegiance adds importance to why this work was painted for the American Bicentennial and displayed in the Guggenheim Museum that summer. Perhaps this work even alludes to the Spanish / American dynamic of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, the group of American soldiers who fought in Spain during the Spanish Civil War.

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