The castle at Púbol (“poo-bohl”) was the home to surrealist painter Salvador Dalí and his wife Gala (but not at the same time). Gala is buried at the castle. In 1968, Dalí bought Gala her own separate castle in Púbol, Girona, where she would spend time every summer from 1971-1980. He also agreed not to visit there without getting advance permission from her in writing. After Gala’s death in 1982, Dalí moved into the Castle for the first time. In 1984, a fire broke out in his bedroom under unclear circumstances. It was possibly a suicide attempt by Dalí, or possibly simple negligence by his staff. Dalí was rescued by friend and collaborator Robert Descharnes and returned to Figueres, where a group of his friends, patrons, and fellow artists saw to it that he was comfortable living in his Theater-Museum for his final years. In 1996, Gala’s private castle in Púbol was opened to the public as the Gala-Dalí Castle House Museum.
The base of the castle is a fortification dating from the 11th century that has undergone numerous renovations and incorporations over the centuries. It represents a noteworthy synthesis of Gothic and Renaissance elements, which are especially visible in the three levels of the current nave and the tall and slender central patio. But it is without a doubt the inside of the castle that holds the most suprises for the visitor. Charged with personally coordinating the restoration of the building once he had acquired it, Salvador Dalí personalised the internal decor, significantly converting the rooms and other spaces of the castle into a work of art following his distinctive surrealist style.
Amongst such pieces one must note the sculptures of long-legged elephants in the garden (a recurring visual theme in the works of the painter) the busts of Wagner that decorate the swimming pool and Gala’s mausoleum – a real work of art.
Museu Salvador Dalí in Figueres
Video: © Dimitri Kissoff