Portlligat and Dalí’s house

In October I was able to travel with friends to Catalonia for a weekend of arty inspiration. There was so much to take in that I thought it worth blogging in two parts. This post details some of the wildly wacky world of Salvador Dalí’s house at Portlligat – I have to be honest, I didn’t expect to be so inspired by it. The colour and light were tremendous; the shadows were crisp and walking among olive groves by the sea made me want to breathe more deeply.

Dalí and his wife & muse, Russian-born Gala, lived here for 50 years. He bought the house when it was a tiny fisherman’s cottage in isolation on this part of the coast. He added to it significantly so that what we see today is a labyrinth of rooms and passages, odd angles and alcoves and corners, housing strange eclectic artefacts and unfinished art. The eccentricities are offset with arrangements of Gala Dalí’s favourite flowers. If you want to visit this museum, you need to prebook well in advance, as they allow groups of 10 at a time to be guided through the rooms and gardens.

I was fascinated to be able to see closely some works-in-progress, alongside artist materials, in his studio with a magnificent view of the harbour – incredible light floods in from the east. In fact, due to the position of the house, Dalí installed an angled mirror below the mezzanine of his bedroom, to be the first to see the sun rise in Spain each morning from his own bed. The whitewashed olive tree courtyards outside lead through to the bizarre playground of the pool with fountains, stuffed animals, Pirelli and Michelin souvenirs and a large pink Mae West Lips sofa. As you climb the garden steps you reach viewpoints looking out over the bay and at more eyebrow-raising Dalí constructions – no wonder that seems to be his permanent expression, in the collections of magazine covers and photographs with stars and politicians.

Portlligat is the bay just up the steep hill from the larger harbour at Cadaqués – worth the effort of making the journey there, as the area is a popular time-off destination for Catalonian locals. Here’s a taster…

view of an olive tree and the harbour at portlligat catalonia spain with salvador dali's house visiblesalvador dali's house portlligat with a view of the harbour cataloniaunusual quirky artefacts of salvador dali's house stuffed polar bearshelves of found and collected objects at salvador dali's house museumstrange religious imagery at the home of salvador daliview of the harbour from the window of salvador dali's artist studio portlligatviews of the artist studio with artefacts dali housesalvador dali unfinished painting in his studiostrange angel salvador dali unfinished paintingnotes and artist materials salvador dali3D glasses and artefacts dali house museumrough sketch of Christ of Saint John on the Cross Salvador Dali house museumrugby ball with dressed statue dali museumsalvador dali artist artefactsstrange collected artefacts with mannequins and candles salvador dali museumhand-shaped door knocker interior of the home of salvador dali portlligatview to the east from the window of salvador dali's home portlligatmirror in dali home to show first sunrise on spain every morningsnail and test tubes of flowers dali homecollection of art and portraits in salvador dali bedroomtwo double beds for salvador dali and gala with matching slipper clogscircular mirror reflects the bedroom of salvador daliphotographer image in the mirror of salvador dali's bedroommagazine covers and features on a wall at the home of salvador daliwindow view of a corner of dali's courtyard garden portlligatemperor bust lamp and artefact collection in an alcove dali housewardrobes papered in photographs of salvador dali with actors and politiciansgeraniums flow over roof tiles at the home of salvador daligarden rooms with bizarre artefacts and winged rhinoceros head dali homewhitewashed courtyard with giant teacup planters, egg shapes, olive trees and geraniums at dali homewhitewashed olive tree courtyard at the home of salvador dali portlligatgeraniums and hand sculpture religious artefacts gardens at salvador dali homeolive yew and geranium home of dali garden courtyardmediterranean olive tree shadows on whitewashed wallsalvador dali pink lips sofafountain in the pool garden of daliphallic pool at home of salvador daliblue pool and orange brick detailpirelli motifs and large pink lips sofa dali gardenstuffed toy snake and lion salvador dali gardentelefon telephone box in dali gardenswan fountain feature dali gardendali garden pool with michelin manolive tree in sunlight catalonia dalipool garden dali house catalonialarge split heads sculpture salvador dali house garden portlligatmatador fountain in the home of salvador dalidetail of spanish ladies on fountain dali gardendetails of pool and fountain matadors dali housedetail of olives growing cataloniafountain sculpture detail with olives dali housegarden details of olives and geraniums dali housemusic room of dali house broken pianolarge egg sculpture on roof of dali house portlligatchrist of the rubbish structure sculpture by salvador dali spainview through the olive groves to the bay at portlligatolive trees in cataloniaportlligat viewpoint and the hill down to cadaques

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  • Anna - What an amazing set of photos! You took me back to the memories we share together. You are a fabulous photographer, but most of all: a fabulous personality. xReplyCancel

    • Julie - Oh that’s so kind! I enjoyed this trip so much. What a special bunch of friends you are xxReplyCancel