Salvador Dali


Dalí was a skilled draftsman, best known for the striking and bizarre images in his surrealist work. His painterly skills are often attributed to the influence of Renaissance masters. His best known work, The Persistence of Memory, was completed in August 1931. Dalí’s expansive artistic repertoire included film, sculpture, and photography, in collaboration with a range of artists in a variety of media. Dalí attributed his “love of everything that is gilded and excessive, my passion for luxury and my love of oriental clothes” to an “Arab lineage”, claiming that his ancestors were descended from the Moors.

Since he was just a child, Salvador Dalí showed great interest for painting, his first attempts were on cardboard boxes for hats, received from his aunt, a seamstress luxury. The family lived in Figueres, but one summer, his parents sent him to Moule de la Torre, to one of their friends, Ramon Pichot, an impressionist painter. Convinced of Salvador’s talent, Pichot suggests the young man to continue his studies in Madrid. In 1918, the first exhibition of his works in the local theater of Figueres would take place.

In 1926 he goes to Paris, where he comes into contact with the intellectual atmosphere of the French capital at that time full of surreal effervescence and gets acquainted with André Breton, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró and Paul Eluard. In this surrealist circle, he befriends especially with French writer René Crevel, who will dedicate the painter a booklet entitled “Dalí o el antioscurantismo” in 1931.

Dalí is excited by the surrealist movement, in which he sees the possibility of the development of his exuberant imagination united with a technical virtuosity of drawing and colour. Because of his behavior, in 1934 he is expelled from the Surrealist artists group, which did not prevent him from believing that he is the only artist capable of capturing the “surreal forms.” As an alternative to the “psychic automatism” advocated by Breton, Salvador Dalí used his own style as “paranoico-critical method”, which he defines as “a spontaneous method of irrational knowledge which consists in the critical interpretation of delusional reveries” Thus, the images that the artist is trying to fix on canvas derives from the cloudy bustle of the unconscious (paranoia) and manages to take shape only through the rationalization of delirium (the critical moment).

In 1929, Salvador Dalí met Gala Diakonova, wife of the poet Paul Eluard, for which he had a passion that will not go of him until the end of his life. He manages to separate her from Éluard, Gala not only becoming his wife, but also his inspiring muse, representing her in many of his paintings. Thanks to Gala, Dalí will finally know the physical love, which until then had been completely foreign for him, thus saving him from madness, as the artist confessed subsequently, but some biographers doubt this statement.

Geopoliticus Child and Persistance
Geopoliticus Child and Persistance


In 1959, André Breton organized an exhibit called “Homage to Surrealism”, celebrating the 40th anniversary of Surrealism, and contained works of Dalí, Joan Miró, Enrique Tábara, and Eugenio Granell. Breton vehemently fought against the inclusion of Dalí’s “Sistine Madonna” in the International Surrealism Exhibition in New York the following year.

In 1968, Dalí filmed a humorous television advertisement for the Lanvin chocolates. In this commercial, he proclaimed in French “Je suis fou du chocolat Lanvin!” (“I’m crazy about Lanvin chocolate!”) while biting a morsel, causing him to become cross-eyed and his moustache to swivel upwards. In 1969, he designed the “Chupa Chups” logo, in addition to facilitating the design of the advertising campaign for the 1969 Eurovision Song Contest and creating a large on-stage metal sculpture that stood at the Teatro Real in Madrid.

In 1980 at the age of 76 years old, Dalí’s health took a catastrophic turn. His right hand trembled terribly, with Parkinson-like symptoms. His near-senile wife allegedly had been dosing him with a dangerous cocktail of unprescribed medicine that damaged his nervous system, thus causing an untimely end to his artistic capacity.

Until the last period of his life, Dalí continued to fuel to the extreme his fame of an eccentric artist, original up to the delirium limits, becoming in time the prisoner of his own character, proud and unpredictable. In 1975, he received a knighthood and became “Marquis of Pubol” because at that time he lived in the Pubol castle, which was offered to Gala.

Gala died in 1982 and in 1983, Dalí painted his final work, “The Swallow’s Tail”. After an accident, he suffered severe burns and retires from public life. Salvador leaves the castle and takes house in the “Galatea” tower from his “Teatro-Museo” where he would die on 23 January 1989 in Figueras, the town where he was born.

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