This exhibition presented works of Dalí never before displayed by the Dalí Museum. The title, Dali’s Grotesque Carnival, refers to visual distortion and exaggeration, as revealed through the artist’s interest in the themes of festival and celebration. It featured four suites of Dali’s ambitious engagement with printmaking.
Works on paper are rarely exhibited because of their fragility and sensitivity to light. The Dalí Museum houses a substantial collection of approximately 80% of the artist’s output in printmaking and book production, and this exhibition is a rare opportunity to share a significant aspect of the museum’s collection.
Dali’s Grotesque Carnival includes the following two literary suites: The Humorous Daydreams of Pantagruel (1973), based on the work by French writer François Rabelais (c. 1494 – 1553), and Dalí Illustrates Casanova (1967), based on the writings of the Italian author and diplomat Giacomo Casanova (1725 – 1798).
Three additional portfolios of prints, Bullfight I (1966), Bullfight II (1968), and The Circus (1965), complement the grotesque and carnivalesque qualities of the Rabelais and Casanova suites; at the same time they are tinged with the tragedy of the combat between life and death.