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Palabras de Su Alteza Real la Infanta Doña Cristina en la cena con motivo de la inauguración del nuevo Museo Salvador Dalí

Florida, EE.UU.(St. Petersburg), 10.01.2011

I am truly delighted to visit, for the first time, the beautiful city of St. Petersburg in order to share with all of you a cultural event of great importance.

I would like, first of all, to thank Mayor Foster for his hospitality, and also Chairman James for his words and for inviting me so kindly to preside tomorrow's opening ceremony of the splendid new Salvador Dalí Museum.

Last but not least, let me extend my deepest gratitude to Karen Lang Johnston, to Hank Hine and to Brad Morse for their remarks.

As Infanta of Spain I wish to express my joy at being here with you tonight on the eve of the opening of the new home for the largest collection outside Spain of the universally renowned Spanish genius, Salvador Dalí, with whose works I am also particularly involved as Board Member of the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation in Dalí's Catalan hometown, Figueres.

My joy is also based upon the importance that this inauguration has for St. Petersburg's and Florida's role in fostering the friendship between our two countries, thus honouring their prominent role in our shared History for centuries.

The new building will certainly enhance public awareness of Dalí as one of the greatest and most admired artists of the 20th century, praised for his incredible creativity and skill, for his unparalleled imagination reflected in his multifaceted production

Since 27 March 1513 -Easter Sunday of that year- when Juan Ponce de León arrived at these shores, Florida has had a Spanish name. As a matter of fact, La Florida is the oldest Spanish name in all of North America.

Since then, ties between Spanish culture, Florida and, later, the United States have developed and continue to thrive. Today, we are witnessing another great milestone on that long and intense path, thanks to the inauguration of this new Museum, designed specifically for Dalí's works.

The new building will certainly enhance public awareness of Dalí as one of the greatest and most admired artists of the 20th century, praised for his incredible creativity and skill, for his unparalleled imagination reflected in his multifaceted production.

I wholeheartedly congratulate all those who have poured all their energy and efforts into making the opening of this significant architectural work a great success. It will enhance the role of the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg in the development of cultural relations between the United States of America and Spain.

While congratulating the Chairman and Members of the Board as well as the Director and Members of the Museum on this project, I also wish to pay a warm tribute to its founders, the Morses, Reynolds and Eleanor -who passed away only a few months ago- for their lifelong dedication to a better knowledge of Salvador Dalí's extraordinary art.

Now, I would like to ask you all to raise your glasses to join me in a toast to the new Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, and to the close friendship between the United States and Spain.

Thank you very much.

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