This past summer I finally managed to visit the remaining point of the Catalonia Dalí triangle that was mentioned at the start of this post. In Portlligat the House-Museum of Salvador Dalí offers a delightful look at the place the painter called home for over 50 years.
Portlligat is a former fishing village which is now mainly a beach destination next door to Cadaqués. Aside from the Dalí museum, it has little to speak of beyond its picturesque bay with anchored boats.
In front of the museum, there is a recognizable Dalí-esque juxtaposition of a tree growing through an old boat.
The house does not exhibit any of Dalí paintings, but the decorations, the architectural details, the furniture, all objects inside and outside carry the master’s unmistakable imprint. Built through gradual acquisition and annexation of multiple fishermen dwellings, the house is quirky and amusing.
The dining room.
The bedroom mirror is equipped with a magnifying eye. It is positioned with the expressed aim of catching the rays of the morning sun and reflecting it towards the beds. A natural wake-up call is not a bad idea.
There are also a couple of sitting rooms, kitchen, bathrooms, a jewelry workshop, and obviously a painting studio.
The last room of the house is Gala’s withdrawing room, circular in shape and relatively low in light. There is a startling echo effect here – even the quietest of utterances get amplified and bounce back at you from all directions.
At various points throughout the house, windows act as frames to the idyllic beach and mountain views.
The garden spans several terraces, with patios, fountains, installations, trees and plants, and auxiliary buildings.
A favorite shape of Dalí’s – the egg – is well represented here, adorning the roof of a pavilion and as a standalone sculpture.
An unusual sculpture of man lies among the trees on upper terraces.
The view of the bay from the highest point in the garden.
And finally, a very Generalife-like pool and the entertainment area at the edge of it.
All in all, a highly recommended diversion.
Because spaces are small, the entrance to the house-museum is strictly rationed, to a group of no more than 10 people every 10 minutes during the open hours. Each group is accompanied by a multi-lingual guide, who will try to provide narration in the language you are most familiar with but may not actually do it justice in all languages equally. The interior takes 20-25 minutes of touring, which feels slightly rushed, but once you go outside to the garden you are no longer constrained by either the guide or the time.
Tickets have to be reserved online for a specific time of visit; in high season, reservations of several days in advance may be required. People with reservations needs to show up at the museum ticket window half an hour before their reserved time to pick up and pay for the tickets. If I understand correctly, no-shows lose their spots and the tickets may be offered instead to people on stand-by without reservations, but I would not recommend testing that possibility. Plan in advance and arrive in advance.
These and other pictures can be found in my Catalonia Flickr album.