adaques, Spain, has been home and/or playground to probably every artist of note of the past century, including Picasso, Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, Luis Bunuel, John Cage, Garcia Lorca, David Hockney, Richard Hamilton, Rene Magritte, Juan Miro, Man Ray, Walt Disney, and even Albert Einstein, who went there on holiday to play his violin.
Adding to its many attractions at the time of Venosa's arrival was the presence of the great Maestro himself, Salvador Dali, with whom Venosa was fortunate to spend many interesting moments from his first visit in July, 1972 unti lDali's departure from Cadaques in 1980.
As Venosa writes in Noospheres:
"Contrary to expectations, Dali was quite accessible. All you had to do was get him on the telephone - which was easy enough as he was listed in the local directory - and answer his first question which was always,'Are you beautiful?' If your reply was a confident 'Yes!' you would be invited to show up at his Port Lligat home at 7:00 p.m. to sit beside his phallic-shaped swimming pool and drink pink champagne with aristocrats, vagabonds and some of the most interesting people you'd ever hope to meet.
Venosa entering the inauguration event of the Dali Museum in the 28 Sept. 1974.
With Salvador Dali in Figueras, Spain during the making of the movie 'Dalineations', ca. 1974
Venosa with friends in Dal's Garden
HR GIGER in Cadaques
and his eventual meeting with the producers of the Alien Movie
HR Giger and Robert Venosa had met while exhibiting together during the Art Basel in the 1970’s, together with a select group of Fantastic Realists and visionary artists such as Ernst Fuchs, Mati Klarwein, De Es and Vali Meyers.
When Robert Venosa moved from his native New York City to Cadaques, Spain in the early 70’s, he became a regular with his ‘neighbor’ Salvador Dali.
Their relationship was based on exchanging about exciting trends in art and consciousness. Venosa took great pleasure in introducing him to talented and interesting new artists, and this is how it came pass that he showed Dali a catalog of the Swiss artist, Hans Ruedi Giger one day. Impressed by his work, Dali expressed interested in meeting him in person.
“since they lived in the same village, Cadaqués, Spain, <Venosa> had taken Giger’s catalogue to show him, and asked Dali what he thought of it, Dali approved and then would show the catalogue to Alejandro Jodorowsky who intended to film Frank Herbert’s book Dune and was there trying to get Dali interested in it. ...This unnamed catalogue would eventually be referred to by Giger as his "Necronomicon" although the book would not be published for a while longer.”
Robert called ‘Giger’ immediately to relate the invitation, and the next day he arrived in Cadaques from Switzerland, to meet Dali in his house in Port Liggat, Spain.
Venosa and Giger at 'St. Pere De Rosa', Spain in 1975
"I first heard about 'Dune' through Bob Venosa, an American painter of fantastic realism who lived in Cadaqués with his family and was a frequent visitor at Salvador Dali's house. It was a project for a three hour 70 mm science fiction film, in which Dali was to play a leading role for a fee of $100,000 an hour (he was later invited to leave the film because of his pro-Franco statements). Bob Venosa telephoned me to say that the director Alejandro Jodorowsky, to whom Dali had shown my catalogue, was interested in my work. So I went to Spain, but unfortunately Jodorowsky had already left.
"Dali, however, showed a polite interest in my work and introduced his wife Gala, describing her as a specialist in monsters and nightmares….” HR Giger
Above: Venosa with HR Giger in his home/studio in Cadaques, 1975
Left: Robert and Jutta Venosa in Cadaques.
Following Giger's meeting with Dali, and his stay with Venosa in Cadaques, synchronicity took its course (here a short summarization):
HR Giger eventually met Alexandro Jodorowsky who wanted to sign up the special effects expert Dan O’Bannon (Dark Star) for his DUNE movie project.
“It was a time for major discoveries for Dan and he found himself then in contact with some remarkable fantasy artists, Jean ‘Moebius’ Giraud, Robert Venosa and <Chris Foss> who were very big names back then, and he was also to discover their work since they were all working on the Dune project.”
After various meetings, Giger was eventually chosen by Jodorowsky to be the perfect match for the Harkonen castle concept designs which initially fell into the hands of Dino De Laurentis, via Dan O’ Brian.
“Dino de Laurentis was now in possession of the rights to Dune. He was interested in Ridley Scott as the director and me for the production designer. After my prior cooperation on the film in 1975 with Jodorowsky…”(HR GIGER)
So, this is the very short version on how the connection was made through the initial Robert venosa showing his friend’s (HR Giger) and colleague's catalog to Dali.
From this event forward Giger would become an icon in the movie industry for designing of the ‘Alien’ monster, win an Oscar for his artistic achievement….and the rest is history.
Robert Venosa during a vist with the Catalan painter Antonio Pitchot in his home/studio in Cadaques, Spain in 1975.
Later, señor Ptchot would become the director of the Dali Museum in Figueras, Spain
During his early yeas in Cadaques, Robert Venosa opened two galleries:
'Galery LUNA' an 'Galeria ALMEMBIC'.
Here an invitation that Venosa hnad-designed in the style of the time for a group exhibition in 1979.
The French artist ,Alain Margotton, taking a photo of the 'Galeria Luna' window, 1979.
Location of the earlier 'Galerie Alembic' in one of the picturesques old-town Cadaques streets.
(Both photos by Alain Margotton)