Jesus Has Left the Building, and Other Dali News

Dali's "Christ" not currently at home.

By Paul Chimera

Salvador Dali Historian


Picture it. You’ve waited for years to see in person the Salvador Dali masterpiece that is perhaps the most famous religious painting in modern history: “Christ of St. John of the Cross.”

Dali's "Christ" not currently at home.

Dali’s “Christ” not currently at home.


Your heart pounds with rising intensity as you approach the Kelvingrove Art Gallery in Glasgow, Scotland. And in short order the news slams you like a Pacific tsunami:


“I’m sorry. Dali’s ‘Christ of St. John of the Cross’ is not here. It’s on loan to a special exhibition in England.”


This is not a hypothetical. It’s been happening with some frequency, according to news reports. Just how many Kelvingrove visitors have been asking, “Where’s the Dali?” isn’t known.



*     *     *     *     *


Meanwhile, the Dali/Duchamp exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art in England (Oct. 7 – Jan. 3) is garnering lots of notice and shedding light on the relationship and creative connection between these two important 20th century innovators: kingpin of Surrealism, Salvador Dali, and father of conceptual art, Marcel Duchamp.


Photo by Rudy Maxa


For my money, I’ll take one Salvador Dali over a hundred Marcel Duchamp’s. Yes, I know how Duchamp was an intellectual and a so-called conceptual master. But put his “Fountain” (an upside down urinal) against Dali’s “Lobster Telephone,” and dial up crustacean as the winner in my book every time. Not to mention Dali’s “Christ of St. John of the Cross,” which is where the monumentally important picture presently hangs, to the chagrin of those who aren’t aware that it’s not at its permanent home in Glasgow. It’s undoubtedly the show-stopper right now at the Royal Academy.

Fountain 1917, replica 1964 Marcel Duchamp 1887-1968 Purchased with assistance from the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1999

Duchamp’s “Fountain”

Lobster Telephone 1936 Salvador Dal? 1904-1989 Purchased 1981

Dali’s “Lobster Telephone”



However, if you’re hoping to see the 1951 masterwork in Glasgow after its run in England, take note: it heads next across the pond to Florida, to St. Petersburg, to the Salvador Dali Museum there.


But be sure to call ahead, just in case.


*     *     *     *     *


Before “Christ” appears in St. Pete, however, beginning sometime in February, a unique retrospective exhibition of Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvador Dali opened yesterday (Oct. 18) and runs through Jan. 14, 2018. The exploration of the intersection of Dali’s surrealism and Schiaparelli’s fashion sense ought to be as fascinating as it is surreal.


*     *     *     *     *


Lastly, Pilar Abel – the woman who believed she was Dali’s daughter and stood to gain a fortune as a result – has now been ordered by a Spanish court to bankroll the cost that was incurred in the appalling exhumation of the Maestro’s body. Hopefully she’ll quickly become a forgettable footnote in the endlessly fascinating world of Salvador Dali.



PSSSST! Love Dali?

Sign up to join The Salvador Dali "Secret" Society®

Stay updated on offerings, events, and more!