Morse & Dali Museum Books.

Poetic Homage to Gala-Salvador Dali
by A. Reynolds Morse for
The Dali Museum, Cleveland (Beachwood) Ohio (1973).
I must admit that I am not a connoisseur of poetry.  When I do indulge in said written word, I prefer it to be short and to the point--like Robert Frost's poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay" or Poe's "Annabel Lee."  Say what you will, but anything else just goes over my head.

The poetry found in Poetic Homage to Gala-Salvador Dali falls into the category of poetry that I just don't understand.  As such, I cannot appreciate the inspiration reflected in these works, or that which inspired Morse to reprint said works therein.  Even Morse's astute explanation of the historical or social background to each poem does not make anything clearer for me.
Nevertheless, this book, like all Morse books for the Dali Museum, is erudite in its treatment of the subject at hand.  One finds assembled six Dalinian poems which span the years 1926-1964.  However, as the book's title suggests, these are not poems written by Dali, but about Dali.

Each poem is accompanied by an introduction and a biographical note about each author.  There are photographs of Dali and illustrations throughout.  Most notable are the several Dali drawings illustrating "Three Dry Spells" by Edward James.  One would likely have to track down a 1936 copy of the French art magazine Minotaure just to see these drawings.
Finally, the reader is treated to two new sonnets penned by Salvador Dali himself.

The entire package is, as always, well-done, but the poetry just doesn't do it for me.  If you're into that kind of thing, you might like this book.

The book is extremely rare, and as indicated on the book itself, it is limited to 250 copies.  My copy has an empty space where it should be numbered, leading me to suspect that more than 250 copies were actually put into circulation.

It seems that there are several numbered copies available in cyberspace for about $35.


A Dali Journal:
Impressions and Private Memories of Salvador Dali,
January, 1920

Over the years, I have seen this book referenced in other works, and finally it has found its way into my collection.

This book, or booklet, was privately printed by Stratford Press in a limited edition for the Reynolds Morse Foundation in 1962.  It consists of 64 numbered pages stapled to a cover of heavy card stock.  It is richly-illustrated throughout with the boyhood pen and ink drawings of a young Dali, and with a number of photos and art reproductions, all in black-and-white.

The main content of the booklet is a word-for-word translation of a 15 year old Salvador Dali's personal journal from January, 1920.  Sounds interesting, right?  Well, don't get your hopes too high.

The youthful Dali doesn't resemble the megalomaniacal and esoteric wordsmith of his later years.  Here, we find a rather pedestrian Dali whose time is spent at school, hanging with friends, flirting with girls...just an average teenage boy.  We even get a look at the sappy side of young Dali on page 31:
...after that I went to sit on one of the boulevard benches...There I saw the enamored couples...walking before my eyes, showing their happiness...up and down, up and down, whispering their rapturous feelings.  They gazed at one another and in their faces there was a smile of happiness...I thought about how happy they must be; and I smiled.
Who knew that Dali was so normal???  Clearly this is not the picture he painted of himself through his own published writings.

I was a bit disappointed, and left wondering why Morse even bothered to publish this at all.  There is little evidence of the soon-to-be brilliant logician in this prosaic diary.  There is almost no reference to Dali's art or technique, and the journal entries are largely dominated by observations of the weather, and by accounts of the political strife of the period.

Surely there must be a more insightful section of Dali's memoirs suitable for publication.  Perhaps not.  Maybe this is all that had survived up to that point in time.  Apparently, the original journal fell into Morse's hands through a scholarly French book dealer who traced its lineage to a German auction.

Perhaps Morse simply felt a duty to share such a rare historical artifact that fortuitous circumstances had placed into his care.  Coincidentally, that is the same inspiration behind my creation of this very website.

And now for the brass tacks--just how much is this booklet worth?  Unfortunately, this is an item in which its rarity causes it to be more valuable than it realistically should be worth.  To buy one today, you would likely pay about $80.

I suggest that you try to find one in the $20 range, or do what I did: find this item bundled with another book for a great combination deal.  I paid almost nothing for this booklet considering the fair price I paid for the book that it was bundled with.  Awesome score!


Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali: Similarities and Contrasts
by A. Reynolds Morse, 1973.

If you're in the mood to read a book about how Salvador Dali is superior to Pablo Picasso in every way, then this book is for you.  This thesis should not be surprising; after all, the book is written by 20th century's greatest Dali cheerleader: A. Reynolds Morse.

The book stays true to its title, providing Morse's opinion of the major similarities and differences between the two greatest artists of the last century. 

The juxtaposition of Dali and Picasso images related to same/similar themes provides an interesting glimpse into Picasso's invention followed by Dali's interpretation.  Of course, in many ways, Picasso is shown to have set the stage for Dali, though according to Morse, Dali did it better.

It is ultimately up to the reader to decide who was better, but Morse is transparent in his devotion to Dali.

A number of filler texts are included in this volume, such as Picasso i Yo (Spanish holograph text, 1951) and its English translation.  Most of the texts are largely uninteresting and their inclusion was clearly to fill up space.

This book is quite uncommon, however it is readily available for fewer than $20.


Surrealist Drawings Exhibition Catalog
January through July 1988
Salvador Dali Museum
St. Petersburg, Florida

Here is another of those somewhat elusive Dali Museum exhibition catalogs from days past. 

This one is an unpaginated 59 pages (stapled) and features no fewer than 33 early sketches, studies, and assorted drawings by Dali from the 1930's through the early 1940's.  The cover has the pictured charcoal drawing framed in dark blue with the title in gold at the bottom.

Each drawing is accompanied by a title or a reference to the painting it is a study for, the medium, the approximate date, and size.  Many of the drawings are also accompanied by a quote from one of a number of books by, or about, Dali.

The reproductions are of a decent quality and there are many drawings not normally seen elsewhere.

A neat little catalog if you can find a copy.  Expect to pay about $20 or so for one of these, though you may have a difficult time locating one.


Salvador Dali Museum
St. Petersburg, Florida
Short Catalog
Commemorative Guide to Morse Collection (1985)

This "short" catalog lives up to its name with a diminutive size (8.25" sq.) and an unpaginated length of 22 pages.

It is replete with photos and reproductions on every page, and notably, the color reproductions are stunning in their excellent print quality and color reproduction.

The text is a synopsis of the Morse family's initial interest in Dali's art and how it blossomed into a friendship with Dali, and ultimately into one of the largest private collections of Dali's art in the world.  The story ends with a synopsis of how the St. Petersburg Dali museum came to be.
Of interest is a nice color reproduction of The Ghost of Vermeer of Delft, which can be used as a table (1934) in actual size.

All-in-all, a neat little book.  I received my copy tucked in the back of a larger book I purchased online.  What a great little treasure!

If I didn't already own this publication, I would probably not seek it out unless I could buy it for fewer than $10 delivered.  Average online prices for this book are around $16 delivered.


Dali: Nature Morte Vivante
The Reynolds Morse Foundation (1956)
Fine Arts Publication Number Four
This unpaginated black-and-white Dali Museum publication features 17 pages of content dedicated to the Dali oil painting of the same name. 

There are eight figures which are primarily reproductions of study drawings for this masterwork, and there is a 5-page essay written about the painting by A. Reynolds Morse which references each of the figures. 
It is printed on glossy paper.

As always, Reynolds Morse adds a bit of flair to his essay in the form of personal anecdotes related to his interactions with Dali.  In this case, he briefly summarizes Dali's work on the painting along different stages.

While this publication is quite rare, it is likely to not be in much demand due to the relative dearth of information it contains. 

You can find this selling for about $20 or so, but it is probably not worth more than a few dollars--unless you just absolutely have to have it!


Dali In The Nude
by Manuel del Arco (1984).

This edition is a first English edition limited to 500 copies of the first Spanish edition issued June, 1952 under the title Dali al Desnudo.  My copy has a nice low number of 28 out of 500 which is hand-numbered in pencil on the copyright page.

Thie author's stated purpose is to discover the way Dali really is, not the way he wants to show himself.  The book presents the dialog of a number of personal interviews del Arco did with Dali from 1948 to some time before the original 1952 publication date.

Because the book is in the form of a discussion, one reads Dali's answers to del Arco's questions.  Much of the content consists of typical stories and anecdotes that have since been told elsewhere (such as in The Secret Life of Salvador Dali), but hearing the stories repeated again in Dali's own words is still a treat.
More than ever, one gets the impression that Dali is more of a calculated genius than a madman.  Dali's responses are incredibly rational and apparently sane.  No more will I cling to the hackneyed quote "the only difference between me an a madman ..."

The book has a number of Dali photos that are not seen elsewhere, adding a nice bonus to the book.  My favorite is this one of Dali wearing shorts that look like boxers complete with penny loafers sans socks and a jacket.  The kind of style an old grandpa would have!

There is also a reproduction of the original Spanish issue's dust jacket which is far more racy than the English version.

Due to its limited edition of 500 copies, this first English edition is extremely rare.  Expect to pay at least $35 and up for a nice copy of this book, and you are likely to pay at least double that.

Note: Number 158 out of 500 is known to be damaged.  The first 42 pages are detatched from the binding.  Beware if you are buying this number 158.


The Passions According to Dali
by Louis Pauwels
with Salvador Dali
translated from the original French by Eleanor R. Morse (1985).

It was many years before I even realized that this book exists.  As one of only 500 copies, it was rather difficult to find one for purchase.

The origin of the monologues in this book are the recorded, edited, conversations between Pauwels and Dali circa 1966-1967.  Topics covered are: Gala, death, glory, gold, eroticism, monarchy, god and the angels, the railway station at Perpignan, etc. 
However, don't expect to learn too much about Dali's thoughts on these subjects directly.  As symbolic and subjective as Dali's graphic works are, his words are far more misdirected by symbolism, contradiction, and nonlinear logic.  In essence, Dali seems to apply his Paranoic-critical method to his spoken word just as freely as to his art.

For instance, the chapter on gold begins with Dali recounting his childhood practice of retaining his stools.  Apparently the subject of gold inspired in him a logical connection to something he valued as a child like a precious metal--his poop!

Well, I can't say that there were too many other gems in this book.  For the most part, it's just Dali on a soapbox, pontificating on any number of things that he loosely connects to the subject at hand.  Most of it seems more interesting to himself than to any other person in the world, but that sort of indulgent vanity has always been a characteristic of the self-proclaimed genius.

The main text is 162 pages and features a number of appendices which are largely superfluous, especially the few that are not written by, or about, Dali. 

This book is limited to 500 copies and is therefore extremely difficult to attain.  You can expect to pay $90 and up for a copy of this book which had a sticker price of $27.50 when it was published. 


The Tragic Myth of Millet's Angelus
by Salvador Dali,
translated by Eleanor R. Morse (1986).

After seeing this book referenced over the years in so many publications by/about Dali, I finally got a chance to delve into it for myself.

Anxious for the revelation of its contents, I raced through an initial reading of the book at lightning speed.  When finished, I had no idea what I had just read!  Nothing made any sense at all.  I figured I owed it to myself to give it another read.

The second time around things were clearer, but only to a point.  I think the difficulty with understanding this book is that Dali tries to present for objective scrutiny something that is so very personal and specific to only him.

Sure, one can glean from this book a basic understanding of Dali's paranoia-critical method.  However, one may not be able to follow the logic with which Dali connects various memories, visions, and experiences to Millet's Angelus.

I was able to follow some of the connections, but others were so loosely connected that I just couldn't follow the association.

I must say that I did come away with an understanding behind the existence of the twilight atmosphere in many of Dali's works, and I think I know why Dali paints so many desolate landscapes largely devoid of foliage.  Other than that, most of Dali's symbolism is largely personal to himself, and this book doesn't really clear up that issue.

The main text is 176 pages.  This is followed by a 30-page chapter titled The Myth of William Tell, which is simply Dali's story of his expulsion from the surrealist group, dated 1952.  Finally, two articles by Dali printed in the Minotaur (from 1933 and 1934 respectively) are reproduced here.

The second article is particularly outlandish in which Dali seems to compare the extraction of blackheads from one's nose (issue ... of our ... thick and personal "Time-Space") to, well, I'm really not sure what!  It seems like he is saying that all objects are foreign bodies of space.

Truly mind-blowing reading for sure, which leads me to exclaim that the only difference between Dali and LSD is that Dali was not on LSD!  Or was he?

This book is limited to 500 copies and is therefore extremely difficult to attain.  You can expect to pay $90 and up for a copy of this book which had a sticker price of $15.95 when it was published.


DALI … A Panorama of His Art
by Salvador Dali Museum (1974)

This large oblong book is one of the best Dali books in my collection. It’s like having three+ books in one.


  1. First, the 93 oils in the Morse collection at the time, reproduced in color and in black & white (about half and half). Reproductions are actual size unless otherwise noted.
  2. Next, Morse notes on the paintings and masterworks, which is the highlight of the book. The Morse notes are replete with illustrations of Dali’s house, family, and inspirations for his artwork. You won’t find this kind of scholarly information about Dali anywhere else!
  3. Finally, Morse notes about Dali’s homeland, so valuable to understanding Dali’s early influences and continuing inspiration.
  4. Plus additional essays written by A. Reynolds Morse and Eleanor Morse.
Completely illustrated throughout.

Comes with a dust jacket and a deep blue cloth-covered hard cover. This book is extremely rare, and if you are lucky enough to find a copy, it may cost $40 or more.

One warning, there are copies of this book in which some of the color plates are flawed. I observed that some part of the printing is offset from another part of the printing. I don’t know much about the printing process, but it seems that the prints are made in multiple applications of color to the paper. On some prints, it appears that one application of color is not in line with another, making for a blurred or faulty print. Not all copies of this book have the flaw.


Dali’s Animal Crackers
by A. Reynolds Morse (1993)

This book is a rare find — so rare that it was years before I even found that it existed. Once I obtained an affordable copy of this book, I was pleasently surprised at what I found.

Being written by Morse, this book is filled with many colorful anecdotes, most of which I have not read before in any other Morse publication.

But beyond this, the organization of the book is unique indeed. It is set up by sections devoted to the animals, insects, etc. that appear in Dali’s oeuvre. It is fully-illustrated, though not in color.
A highlight of this book for me was to find two Dali works that I had not seen before anywhere else:

The first is Portrait of a Duck (1918). I cannot find any reference to this painting anywhere in my extensive Dali book library. It is not listed in the tome Dali: The Paintings.

The second Dali work that I discovered in Dali’s Animal Crackers is an untitled oil (pre-1972) featuring a fox in the foreground. I have since discovered this work (in Dali in Manhattan) as a lithograph titled Savage Beasts of the Desert (1975) and as an original intaglio (1970) in the Field catalog. I can find no other references to this work as an oil painting other than in Dali’s Animal Crackers.

The book is oblong like the other Morse publications and has a dark blue leatherette hard cover with gold lettering. It is issued with a dust jacket. If you can find a copy of this book, you might pay from $50 to well over $100 depending on the quality.


A Guide to Works by Salvador Dali in Public Museum Collections
published by The Dali Museum, Cleveland Ohio (1974, second edition)

The version I have is a new edition of the original 1956 Guide. This updated version features a frontispiece done by Dali in 1974.

At more than 30 years old, the information in this guide is considerably outdated, so it is more of a snapshot in time than anything else.

All of the reproductions are in black and white, and the whereabouts of more than 80 Dali works are detailed here.

Other than the original frontispiece drawing, and a couple of other illustrations unique to this book, another highlight are the four designs for scarves. Other than that, you won’t find reproductions of any works here that you won’t find anywhere else.

This book is an oblong softcover. It is somewhat rare although not in high demand.  You can expect to pay about $30 for a decent copy of this book, but possibly less if you hold out for the occasional online auction.


The Salvador Dalí Museum Collection
1997 softcover; 2000 hardcover

Either of these catalogs is a must-have for any fan of Salvador Dalí.

The 2000 edition is larger, but the reproductions are the same size as the 1997 edition. However, with the 2000 edition, you get accompanying text relevant to each painting.

Additionally, you get at least two extra reproductions, Galacidalacidesoxiribunucleicacid (Homage to Crick and Watson) and Portrait of My Dead Brother.

I assume that these works were obtained by the museum after the publication of the 1997 edition of the catalog.

On the other hand, unique to the 1997 edition are about 60 pages of drawings and watercolors reproduced in color and greyscale. Some of these works are rarely reproduced, if at all, elsewhere. Two are seen below.


The Secret Life Drawings
By the Salvador Dalí Foundation, Inc.; published: 1982.

Another of those oblong museum publications.

In this one book, you get all 134 illustrations from “The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí” plus four extra illustrations not included in the original publication.

Most illustrations are actual size unless otherwise noted, many on irregular paper. It’s nice to have all of the illustrations separated from the text; it makes for a nice art book to flip through.

A very rare book, and you can expect to pay $40 and up, if you can find it.


Dali: Les Chants de Maldoror

Exhibition of 44 Etchings
February 5 - August 18, 1991

Salvador Dali Museum
St. Petersburg, Florida

This is a 24-page exhibition catalog of Dali's etchings for Comte de Lautreamont's (Isidore Ducasse) Les Chants de Maldoror.  These original engravings are among Dali's earliest, dating to 1934.

This catalog presents all 44 etchings of the deluxe uncropped Skira edition of 1934 (8 full-page, 36 quarter-page), which include remarques, or pencil-like drawings that appear on the bottom or top half of the plates. 

This feature makes this catalog a good reference source beyond Albert Field's Official Dali Catalog since some of Field's Maldoror reproductions (sized at 1/16th of a page) are either missing the remarques, or the remarques have been cropped out.

Elsewhere, one can find 43 Maldoror illustrations in the Pompidou Retrospective Catalog (1979/1980) sans remarques (sized at 1/9th of a page).

This exhibition catalog also features a short essay about the details of both the 1934 and 1975 print editions of the Dali etchings, and a brief essay about Lautreamont and his Maldoror text.

This catalog is not too common but it seems that there are several for sale for around $25.  Considering that the quality of the reproductions is not great (most are too light to achieve fine detail), that price might be a bit rich for this catalog.

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