(1912 - ?)
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Eleanor Reese Morse is best known for her part in assembling the Morse Collection, one of the worlds largest collections of Salvador Dalí paintings, graphics, photographs, and sculptures.
Eleanor first met future husband A. Reynolds Morse at the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra. The two were married in 1942 and would remain together for almost 50 years, until Reynolds' death in 2000.
Celebrating their one-year anniversary together, Eleanor and Reynolds purchased their first Dalí painting in 1943. That one painting would eventually lead to the enormous Morse Collection, which she and Reynolds would later donate to the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Eleanor was no stranger to Florida, having received her undergraduate degree (a Bachelor of Music) from Rollins College in Winter Park. She continued her music studies abroad at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, Italy.
The wife of a wealthy plastics entrepreneur, Morse was free to follow her interests. She continued her music studies while earning a master's degree in French and Spanish from Case Western Reserve University. As her husband rose in prominence as both a Dalí collector and scholar, Morse began to earn her own accolades as an accomplished translator of scholarly texts. Among her translations are Dalí's The Tragic Myth of Millet's Angelus and Robert Descharnes' Salvador Dalí: The Work, the Man.
Morse joined the board of the Florida Orchestra in 1986 and has since remained an active board member throughout her life. She has also served as an "unofficial ambassador of French culture" in the United States for many years, a role that, along with her work as a translator, resulted in her being twice honored by the French government.
In 1989, Morse and her husband were knighted in a ceremony ordered by King Carlos of Spain, where both received the Cross of the Officer of the Order of Isabella the Catholic, the highest award given to non-Spaniards. It had been eighteen years since the couple founded the first Salvador Dalí museum in Cleveland and seven years since they donated the coveted Morse Collection to the newly-built Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg.
Today, Eleanor R. Morse remains active with the museum she helped create, appearing at special events and meeting with scholars to provide first-hand knowledge to those seeking to interpret and/or better understand Salvador Dalí and the works of the Morse Collection. She celebrated her 90th birthday on October 19, 2002.
1. http://www.salvadordalimuseum.org/cgi-bin/SoftCart.exe/info/history/founders.html?L+dali+gcth6312+1042786309 (16 Jan 2003)
2. http://www.salvadordalimuseum.org/cgi-bin/SoftCart.exe/info/history/index.html?L+dali+gcth6312+1042778500 (16 Jan 2003)
(16 Jan 2003)
4. Bill Cahoon (tour guide/historian). Salvador Dalí Museum: 11 Jan 2003.