The Dancing Pelican, 4: Surrealism in the Strip Mall, 5 March 2024

April 17, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

         In Jacksonville Beach, the weather remained cool and damp.  Our hotel room had a balcony overlooking the roiling ocean.  HL and I could stand there and observe the grey waves dissolving into the silvery sky.  Conditions were not conducive to the seaside rambles that I had imagined taking with HL and my friend D.  D. resides a few miles from the beach and walks there frequently, but not when it is chilly.  On inclement days, she was inclined to turn on her patio heater and watch the birds that gathered at her feeders.  D. suggested that HL and I could see some Dalí prints in a local gallery, if we were feeling restless.  No sooner had my friend mentioned the Spanish Surrealist than I was eager to discover which Dalí works were on display.   

         Gallery 725 was situated between a restaurant and a dog groomer's shop.  As we parked, I lowered my already modest expectations.  So I was unprepared to have ranks of handsomely framed prints greet my eyes.  They lined the gallery's walls, arranged according to the mythological theme of each series. 

I admired the chandelier, which would not have disgraced a gallery in any major city.

         When we entered the gallery, only the proprietor was there, seated at a desk in the back.  She explained that the prints belonged to Christine Argillet, the daughter of Dalí's publisher, Pierre Argillet.  Madame Argillet, as she styles herself, inherited her father's extensive collection of works on paper by his friend and collaborator.  The owner has been selling the etchings, watercolors and lithographs in groups, offering them through Gallery 725, over the course of the past several years.  I do not know the nature of the connection between Madame Argillet and the gallery's owners, as the woman did not divulge it.  

         Dalí called his series Suites.  Some illustrations from his Suite, Mythologie (Mythology), featured the goddess Venus.  There were also selections from Goethe's Faust, Les Hippies (The Hippies), and Les Poemes Secrets d'Apollinaire (The Secret Poems of Apollinaire).

Oedipus and the Sphinx, from the Mythologie Suite

         It was an hour, perhaps more, before we left the gallery and its enchantments.  Whatever the actual meteorological conditions, the gloom had lifted.

         

         

 

 

 

 

 

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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