News. New exhibition: Of dreams, night walks and experiences

Figueres, 9 May, 2016

A new temporary exhibition was inaugurated at the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres entitled Of Dreams, Night Walks and Experiences. There are 23 works on display: 18 wash drawings and five drawings with a common theme: the period in which Salvador Dalí lived in Madrid, between 1922 and 1926. Among these pieces is the latest work acquired by the Foundation, Salvador Dalí and Maruja Mallo at the Café de Oriente, a wash drawing from 1923.

It will be open to the public from 10 May until 16 October this year in one of the Loggias Rooms.

Concept and content

In 1922, an eighteen-year-old Dalí travelled to Madrid to begin his studies at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando. He moved into the Residencia de Estudiantes, where he became friends with a group of young students (many of whom would form part of the Generation of 1927) who he shared knowledge, friendship and social gatherings with. Salvador Dalí and Maruja Mallo at the Café de Oriente, a work inspired by one of these soirées, complements this series of wash drawings made by Dalí between 1922-1923, in which he shows us some of his wanderings in the company of his friends from the Residencia de Estudiantes. It was the start of a new period in the life and work of the future painter.

During his first months in Madrid, Dalí often visited the Museo del Prado, where he particularly admired the work of Velázquez, Goya and Hieronymus Bosch. Pepín Bello included Dalí in his gang, a group of young people who would go on to become famous intellectuals and artists: Luis Buñuel, Federico García Lorca, Maruja Mallo, Rafael Barradas, among others.

Dalí began to frequent the city's fashionable cafés, bars and taverns. He changed his appearance and habits, eventually turning into quite the dandy, like his contemporaries in the Generation of 1927. A clear testimony to these wanderings are the drawings and wash drawings on display in this exhibition.

Salvador Dalí and Maruja Mallo at the Café de Oriente

The main piece in the exhibition is this wash drawing on paper from 1923 which was acquired at auction by the Dalí Foundation. In the image we see the painter and Maruja Mallo beside a third, as yet unidentified, character. Mallo was an outgoing young woman who broke away from the classical and traditional society of the day. She was the only woman enrolled at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in the same year as Dalí.

Dalí's stay in Madrid between 1922 and 1926 was cut short by several events. In 1923 he was expelled from the Real Academia de Bellas Artes because of a public protest against Daniel Vázquez Díaz being denied a teaching position. While the expulsion lasted he studied with Francisco Bores, Moreno Villa and Benjamín Palencia at the Academia Libre, led by Julio Moisés; it may have been here where he painted the Portrait of Luis Buñuel. In 1924 he was imprisoned in Girona for supposedly carrying out liberal political activities but released without charge twenty days later. In September of the same year he rejoined the course at the School of Fine Arts and resumed his nocturnal wanderings around the city. In 1926, the painter was permanently expelled from the School after declaring the examining board incompetent to evaluate his theoretical knowledge of fine arts. During the school holidays, Dalí returned to Figueres.


The staging of the exhibition was designed by Pep Canaleta from 3carme33 and the graphic design is by Alex Gifreu.

The Educational Service has produced a brief catalogue with texts by Cuca R. Costa, Centre for Dalinian Studies coordinator, with technical supervision by Montse Aguer.