Collector To Transform Local Institution Into Salvador Dalí Museum

The trove is the second-largest collection of Dalí works in the US.

Portrait of Spanish artist Salvador Dali (1904 - 1989) with his cane, 1960s. Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images.
Portrait of Spanish artist Salvador Dali (1904 - 1989) with his cane, 1960s. Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

The Museum of Monterey, which is currently devoted to chronicling the history of the California city through its connection to the sea, is about to be transformed into an impressive homage to surrealist Salvador Dalí.

Dmitry Piterman, a Ukrainian-American businessman and collector with a collection of over 543 Dalí works, has entered into a joint venture with the Monterey History and Art Association to take over and transform the lagging institution into a home for various etchings, mixed media, lithographs, sculptures, and tapestries by the larger-than-life Spanish artist.

Salvador Dalí, The Persistence of Memory, 1931. The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Salvador Dalí, The Persistence of Memory, 1931.
Photo: courtesy the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

The new museum will be called Dalí 17, a nod to the Hotel Del Monte, the Monterey hotel located on 17 Mile Drive where Dalí often stayed and worked in the 1930s and ’40s. The trove is said to be the second-largest Dalí collection in the United States. Other museums dedicated to the painter exist in St. Petersburg, Florida, and his hometown of Figueres, Spain.

Piterman began his Dalí collection in the late 1980s, shortly after graduating from the University of California Berkeley.

“He studied philosophy, he studied psychology, he studied dreams, he studied science and he incorporated all of these in his paintings,” Piterman said to the Herald of his attraction to Dalí’s work. “It’s that kind of out-of-the-box thinking and out-of-the-ordinary art that impresses people around the world.”

Carl Van Vechten, Portrait of Man Ray and Salvador Dali, Paris (1934). <br>Photo: U.S. Library of Congress, prints and Photographs Division/Wikipedia.

Carl Van Vechten, Portrait of Man Ray and Salvador Dali, Paris (1934).
Photo: U.S. Library of Congress, prints and Photographs Division/Wikipedia.

The art and artifacts currently on display at the Museum of Monterey have yet to find a new home, but will likely be distributed among several locations including the San Francisco Maritime Museum and the Monterey Public Library.

“Monterey won’t be a one-trick pony anymore,” Monterey History and Art Association board president Lawrence Chavez added. “We’re really excited because it’s a new direction. Right now I’m looking out the windows toward the wharf and I’m seeing people just walk past the museum. That’s not going to happen anymore.”

The announcement comes on the heels of several other forthcoming private museums, including one by German sculptor Thomas Schütte, and one by art collector Désiré Feuerle dedicated to Southeast Asian art.


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