Around 40 years ago in 1979, New York’s Guggenheim museum presented Dalí’s first hyper-stereoscopic artworks for exhibit. In the same year in May, Dalí was elected as a member of the Académie Francaise des Beaux-Arts, and presented with a sword.
Dalí indeed won several awards and accolades throughout his life, and saw his eclectic sculptures placed in some incredibly prestigious locations. The Saint George and the dragon, one of the sculptures that the Dalí Universe owns, has been in the Vatican’s museum art collection for over twenty years, having originally been gifted to Pope John Paul II by Beniamino Levi in 1995. Following the Vatican museums restructuring, the sculpture is now on public view at the la Scalone di Pio IX, in the Palazzi Apostolici Vaticani, an enormously prestigious location.
Dalí, a surrealist artist, enjoyed fame and infamy and longed to see his two dimensional images transformed into three dimensional sculptures. As Beniamino Levi recounts ‘When by chance I met Salvador Dalí’, even though I obviously admired his paintings, I was drawn to his three-dimensional artworks, after having discovered the beautiful African sculptures, that expressed natural creativity, sacredness, and ancestral connection with nature. I discovered that he had already created sculpture in the 1930’s. I was struck by these three dimensional shapes, and I wanted to study their meaning in depth. Dalí was amazed by my enthusiasm. This is how we established a relationship that gave me the opportunity to encourage him to create other sculptures,that today are part of my collection. From that day I also started searching for sculptures on the market and through private collectors.’
Beniamino Levi’s passion for collecting is in evidence thorough this huge artwork collection owned an exhibited by the Dali Universe.