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Surreal encounters with Salvador Dali

One of Christine Argillet's favorite childhood summers in Cadaques, Spain, began with a prank by Salvador Dali. The revered surrealist painter, a confidant to her father, Pierre, told an 8-year-old Argillet to fetch a few candies from a crystal jar in Dali's bedroom and hurl the globe-shaped sweets at a rock on the beach.

"There were fisherman nearby, and when I threw the candies with strength, they hit the rock and went, 'Pow! pow!' They were cherry bombs. The fisherman all jumped and started yelling at me," Argillet recalls with a laugh. "He was always very creative and nice and a bit shy. But with me, he was a trickster."

Argillet's father, Dali's publisher for four decades, assembled during their partnership more than 200 thematic copper-plate etchings and hand-woven tapestries of Dali's works, which are part of the touring "Salvador Dali: Argillet Collection," on sale through Sunday at the Wentworth Gallery on Las Olas and in Boca Raton. There are 50 pieces in this collection, each addressing Dali's singular themes of death and sex, and taken from Dali's well-regarded suites Mythologie, Faust, Venus aux Fourrures and Don Juan.

"We wanted to have the collection well-known and shared," says Argillet, who sold part of the collection after her father passed away in 2001. "I have many fond memories of them being created."

Christine Argillet will discuss the collection from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, at Wentworth Gallery Las Olas, 819 E. Las Olas Blvd., in Fort Lauderdale and from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Wentworth Gallery at Town Center Boca Raton, 517 Town Center Mall. Admission is free. RSVP at 954-468-0685 or 561-338-0804.

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