The Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC), which is located in the vicinity of the Montjuïc site, is preparing its first major exhibition of 2018, which will be dedicated to Gala, Salvador Dalí’s muse.

This exhibition, which will be open from 5 July to 14 October next year, will bring together some 180 works and personal items that reflect on this key figure in 20th century art: from paintings by Max Ernst (with whom she had an affair), photographs by Man Ray, Picasso and Cecil Beaton, along with drawings and paintings by Salvador Dalí himself, to letters, postcards, books, clothes and other objects from the personal items belonging to Gala, transferred from her home in Portlligat.

The exhibition “Gala Salvador Dalí. Una habitación propia a Púbol” [A room of one’s own in Púbol] reveals a woman who adopted the role of muse while she was following her own artistic path: writing, reading and designing clothes, as well as becoming the core of Dalí’s artistic development and sharing in the creation of many of his works.

The exhibition, which is organized in collaboration with the Fundació Gala-Dalí, was curated by Estrella de Diego, a leading expert on Gala.

The lady of Castell de Púbol

Who was really behind the famous figure of Gala? A woman who made her mark wherever she went. Cold, manipulative, distant, controlling…these are some of the words used to describe the Russian Elena Ivanovna Diakonova, better known as Gala, the romantic partner and muse of the painter Salvador Dalí.

They met in 1929 in Cadaqués, when the eccentric artist, who was 11 years younger than her, had yet to become famous. She was then married to the poet Paul Éluard, and the mother of an 11-year-old daughter, Cecile.

Her relationship with Salvador Dalí would last for half a century, until she died in 1982. She was buried in the mausoleum of the castle that Dalí gave her, in Púbol, a fortress that he transformed and redesigned in honour of Gala, in the style of a feudal lady. The couple even had an agreement which stated that Dalí could not visit her unless she sent him a written invitation.