Dr. Seuss, Dalí share gallery space in St. Augustine

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On Friday, July 5, St. Augustine’s Cutter and Cutter art gallery launched a new exhibit, featuring the surreal art of Salvador Dalí. The exhibit is accompanied by a surprising Ted Geisel exhibit that displays his “secret work,” a world beyond his children's books, similar to the works of Dalí.  Ted Geisel, by the way, is critically acclaimed American children’s book author, Dr. Seuss. 

“We have three different collections for the Dalí exhibit,” said co-owner, Mark Cutter. 

The main Dalí collection for the exhibit opening was the Argillet Collection, according to Mark’s brother, Matthew Cutter, who also co-owns the gallery with his family. 

“He (Pierre Argillet) was a publisher of Salvador Dalí,” Matthew said. “There are not a lot of hands that have touched this collection, so it’s pretty sweet.” 

The exhibit displays sketches and paintings illustrating Dalí’s ideas, of what he thought the future of art and technology would bring, specifically shown in his ‘Imagination of Objections of the Future’ series.

The Dr. Seuss exhibit is a collection of Ted Geisel’s classic illustrations, sculptures, taxidermy mounts, political cartoons and unexpected paintings from his “secret art” collection.

Original sketches of classics such as “The Cat in the Hat,” “Yertle the Turtle,” “The Lorax,” and others bring a comforting feeling of nostalgia to those who read the books as a child. 

“Read them again (and see) how extremely vital they are to who we are as human beings,” said Madeline Kisting, who works for Chase Art Group, the exclusive art representative for The Art of Dr. Seuss. “If everyone understood, “The Sneetches,” we’d all love each other. If Congress would read “Yertle the Turtle” again, we wouldn’t have any problems, you know?”

Geisel’s political cartoons depicted issues that are still universally discussed today, such as the portrayal of political parties in his “Talk, talk, talk.” comic or, “The Knotty Problem of Capitol Hill...Finding a way to raise taxes without losing a single vote,” which speaks for itself. 

But what really stood out were the vibrant and unexpected paintings from Dr. Seuss’s late-night art sessions. Ted Geisel’s “secret art” showed a different perspective from Dr. Seuss. He combined his imaginative characters and transported them into Dali’s world of surrealism, with unique shapes, concepts and colors, like in his painting, “The Great Cat Continuum,” that’s hung at the gallery, opposite of Dalí’s work. 

Len Cutter and his wife, Sonya, opened Cutter and Cutter art gallery alongside their sons, Matthew and Mark Cutter, 21 years ago. Len said that his family-owned gallery was the first to feature the two artists together with their work side-by-side and that a month from now, the same exhibits will move to the Cutter and Cutter art gallery in Ponte Vedra Beach.

“For this show to be in Ponte Vedra Beach, this is worthy of a drive or a walk to see it,” Len said. “If this were in New York, Boston or Chicago, people would fly in to see it, but it’s happening here first.” 

The Dali and Dr. Seuss exhibits will be in St. Augustine until July 28. The exhibits will move to Ponte Vedra later this year.

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