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Salvador Dali was born in 1904 in Figueres, Spain. Situated in the foothills of the
Pyrenees, it is only 16 miles from France. Son of wealthy parents, he spent much
of his childhood at his parent’s holiday home on the coast in a town called Cadaques.
His first studio was here, built and paid for by his parents.
Dali attended the San Fernando academy of Fine arts in Madrd. He was expelled from
the Academy before his final exams because he declared that no one on the teaching
staff was competent enough to examine him. ( We’ve all been there ! ).
His first international exhibition came at the age of 24 when 3 of his paintings
were shown at the Carnegie International Exhibition in Pittsburgh. A year later in
1929, he graduated to a one man exhibition in Paris.
He joined the surrealist movement and quickly became its leader. His most famous
painting, “The Persistence of Memory” (left) was painted in 1931.
Surprisingly, the original is quite small at only 9.5 x 13 inches, not much bigger
than an A4 sheet of paper. Proving, if nothing else, that size isn’t everything.
It was considered outstanding then, and it is still probably the best known surrealist
work even today. Some have speculated that with the iconic melting clocks, the painting
is a depiction of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, where time is fluid and not fixed.
Salvador Dali described his paintings as “hand painted dream photographs”.
1929 saw the release of the famous surrealist movie, “Un Chien Andalou” a collaboration
between Salvador Dali and director Luis Bunuel.
With the threat of war looming, Dali’s apolitical stance was interpreted as right
wing by his fellow surrealists and he was expelled from the movement in 1934 after
a mock trial.
He continued to produce and exhibit surrealist work for the next few years but around
1940 he moved into what he calls his Classical Period. Science, religion, classical
and historical imagery came to dominate his paintings.
In 1940 he fled the war in Europe and went to New York where he lived for 8 years.
Here he produced a series of large canvases with classic or historical themes. The
best known of which are, The Hallucinogenic Toreador , The Discovery of America by
Christopher Columbus and The Sacrament of the Last Supper.
In 1941 at the age of 37 he published an autobiography ,”The secret life of Salvador
Dali”. Like many celebrity autobiographies this was a tad premature as he went on
to live another 47 years!
In 1974 he opened the Teatro Museo in Figures, Spain. His wife Gala died in 1982
signalling a decline in Dali’s health. He died in 1989 of heart failure.
Dali was the most famous surrealist painter of the 20th century and created strange
and unforgettable works incorporating dream imagery. But he was so much more. His
early impressionist work and his late classical period leave an outstanding and unique
legacy. During a long and enormously successful career he painted in watercolours,
oils, made films, did photography, sculpture, graphic design and jewellery.See him
here on the famous 1950’s TV show, “What’s My Line?” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXT2E9Ccc8A
Below,”Le Sommeil”-Salvador Dali Dali was a force of nature and turned his life into
art. He clashed with many over the years and famously argued with Andre Breton, the
founder of the surrealists, about the content of his paintings. On being kicked out
of the official surrealist movement he retorted, “The only difference between me
and the surrealists is that I am a Surrealist”. Breton countered with an anagram
of Salvador Dali’s name, “Avida Dollars” which means ,”eager for dollars” a reference
to Dali’s notorious commercial streak. He once signed a napkin for money while in
Salvador Dali paintings are amongst the best selling prints, posters and canvases
gracing living rooms, bedrooms and offices the world over. We hope you’ve enjoyed
our facts about Salvador Dali and we’ve inspired you to own some Salvador Dali art
Spanish. Born in Figueres, Spain in 1899 to wealthy parents, died in the same town
Surrealist but expelled from the movement because of political differences in the
run up to the World War II
Turned his life into art with often outrageous behaviour in public
Early work was impressionist, influenced by dada and cubism he moved into surrealism
then later on his Classical Period featuring Scientific and Religious themes
Always a dandy, he had a theatrical personal appearance. His trademark moustache was
inspired by 17th Century Spanish Painter, Diego Velazquez
1929 in Paris saw the release of “Un Chien Andalou”, a surrealist film made with
director Luis Bunuel
Expelled from The Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid after declaring that none of the
teaching staff were good enough to grade him
His most famous work, “The Persistence of Memory” featured melting clocks and watches.
The original measures only 9.5 x 13 inches
On being expelled from the surrealist movement he declared, ”The only difference
between me and the surrealists is that I am a surrealist.” 10
Published his autobiography a full 47 years before his death