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Salvador Dalý Museum in St. Petersburg , FL, opens an important exhibition with over Two hundred and seventy works including commercial designs and films by the famous Surrealist painter to mark his 100th Birthday.

October 1, 2004 - January 30, 2005

By Simone Zarmati Diament

The man was a genius. He said so himself.

And if anyone dared ignore it, they were reminded of that fact by the Dalý News, a newspaper published by Salvador Dalý about himself, some original copies dating 1939 -- when the painter and his wife Gala lived in New York -- which can be viewed at the DalÝ & Mass Culture exhibition at the Dalý Museum in St. Petersburg, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Salvador DalÝ's birth.

The exhibition examines the relationship between Salvador Dalý and mass media culture - the new visual universe generated by the technological and economic changes of the 20th century.

"... my audience mustn't know whether I'm spoofing or being serious; and likewise, I musn't know either," said Dalý in a conversation with the surrealist poet Alain Bosquet.

Far from being a spoof, DalÝ & Mass culture is presented in the spirit of Dalý, that is in a fun way, with over three hundred works on loan from different museums and private collectors.

Eight sections throughout the entire Museum, thematically examine Dalý's multi media involvement: motion pictures, photography, furniture, fashion, advertising, his first covers for Vogue and other magazines; his cartoons for the Weekly News and his own Dalý News; images from the Dream of Venus pavilion which he designed for the 1939 World Fair in New York; the first ever showing of DalÝ's paintings for Disney, and sketches of the famous brandy bottle the Surrealist painter designed for the House of Osborne in 1964.

Commissioned to design an utterly original concept for the release of Osborne's Gran Reserva brandy, DalÝ who often declared "What is Surrealism? ů surrealism is myself," conceived a tall milky white porcelain bottle. With a slanted neck stretching up to meet an oversized dimpled blue stopper sealed with red wax, the base bulges and swells outward, bustle-like, giving the package a very unexpected profile. Bearing DalÝ's personal interpretation of the Osborne family crest, the label depicts a bull's heart bleeding blue blood beneath a gilt crown, symbolic of both the Osbornes' English roots and the family's hereditary title of "Conde" (or "Count") for which the solera brandy is named.

"Nobody liked the design then," gingerly said Count Tomßs Osborne Velßzquez, Chairman of the board of director of Osborne y CÝa, who was on hand to launch the exhibition, at an elegant reception at the Dalý Museum. "Today, it is being touted as our best design," he continued as we were looking at the sketches of the bottle on loan from his family's collection.

In addition to DalÝ's contribution to the Conde de Osborne brandy release, the family's partnership with the artist extended into an offbeat series of 10-second TV commercials in which DalÝ broods in the background while a sexy siren coos the brandy moniker.

Osborne continues with the family's traditional support of Spanish artists with revolving exhibits at the company's new state-of-the art winery in Malpica de Tajo, Spain.

Founded in 1772, Osborne y CÝa is one of the oldest firms of wine and spirit producers in Spain and Spain's largest family-owned producers of wine and spirits. For over two and a half centuries, Osborne has produced outstanding brandies, ports and sherry wines, and is now producing award winning wines at their wineries Bodegas Montecillo in Fuenmayor, and Osborne Solaz at Bodegas Malpica de Tajo in Castilla.

A collector's item for connoisseurs of both fine arts and fine spirits

The Conde de Osborne Solera Gran Reserva brandy, specially packaged in the unconventional DalÝ bottle, is once again imported in limited quantities and will soon be available at a suggested retail price of $50 for a 750 ml bottle. Indisputably DalÝ on the outside and unmistakably Osborne within, this example of Spanish artistry inside and out features a smooth, honeyed palate with layers of vanilla-citrus flavor that complement the brandy's chocolate notes.

The exhibited works are on loan from the Fundaciˇ Gala-Salvador Dalý, the Museo nacional Centro de Arte Reine SofÝa, Walt Disney Studios, the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Osborne International, and private collectors from around the world.

The Salvador Dalý Museum, which holds a permanent collection of the artist's work, is located at 1000 Third St. South, St. Petersburg, Florida.

It is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Thursdays till 8 p.m. and Sundays from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. For information call: 727-823-3767, or visit: www.salvadorDalý

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