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Salvador Dalí (1904-89), known for his absolute flamboyance in the early to latter 20th century, he became an artist of the surreal; painting his revelations and illusions in a fashion that had never been known. His audacity and eccentric behavior would win him global recognition, and his work would inspire countless other artists who followed his lead.

His painterly skills are often attributed to the influence of Renaissance masters. His best-known work, The Persistence of Memory, was completed in 1931. Dalí's expansive artistic repertoire includes film, sculpture, and photography, in collaboration with a range of artists in a variety of media.

Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, was born on May 11, 1904 in the town of Figueres, close to the French border in Catalonia. After passing through phases of Cubism, Futurism and Metaphysical painting,he joined the Surrealists in 1929 and his talent for self-publicity rapidly made him the most famous representative of the movement. Surrealism became his forte, especially when he visited Paris and was taken with the progressive movement of art theory and practice. His focus would take him into other fields for inspiration: from abnormal psychology to other fields.

Throughout his life he cultivated eccentricity and exhibitionism (one of his most famous acts was appearing in a diving suit at the opening of the London Surrealist exhibition in 1936), claiming that this was the source of his creative energy. He took over the Surrealist theory of automatism but transformed it into a more positive method which he named “critical paranoia”. According to this theory one should cultivate genuine delusion as in clinical paranoia while remaining residually aware at the back of one's mind that the control of the reason and will has been deliberately suspended. He claimed that this method should be used not only in artistic and poetical creation but also in the affairs of daily life.

His paintings employed a meticulous academic technique that was contradicted by the unreal `dream' space he depicted and by the strangely hallucinatory characters of his imagery. He described his pictures as “hand-painted dream photographs” and had certain favourite and recurring images, such as the human figure with half-open drawers protruding from it, burning giraffes, and watches bent and flowing as if made from melting wax (The Persistence of Memory, MOMA, New York; 1931).



In 1939, leading surrealist André Breton coined the derogatory nickname "Avida Dollars", an anagram for Salvador Dalí which may be translated as "eager for dollars". This was a derisive reference to the increasing commercialization of Dalí's work, and the perception that Dali sought self-aggrandizement through fame and fortune. Some surrealists henceforth spoke of Dalí in the past tense, as if he were dead.

He moved to the USA in 1940 and remained there until 1955. During this time he devoted himself largely to self-publicity; his paintings were often on religious themes (The Crucifixion of St John of the Cross, Glasgow Art Gallery, 1951), although sexual subjects and pictures centring on his wife Gala were also continuing preoccupations. In 1955 he returned to Spain.

Salvador Dali

Apart from painting, Dalí's output included sculpture, book illustration, jewellery design, and work for the theatre. In collaboration with the director Luis Buñuel he also made the first Surrealist films: Un chien andalou (1929) and L'Age d'or (1930) -and he contributed a dream sequence to Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound (1945). He also wrote a novel, Hidden Faces (1944) and several volumes of flamboyant autobiography. In 1968, Dalí filmed a television advertisement for Lanvin chocolates, and in 1969, he designed the Chupa Chups logo. Also in 1969, he was responsible for creating the advertising aspect of the 1969 Eurovision Song Contest and created a large metal sculpture that stood on the stage at the Teatro Real in Madrid.

In 1982, King Juan Carlos of Spain bestowed on Dalí the title Marquis of Púbol, for which Dalí later repaid him by giving him a drawing (Head of Europa, which would turn out to be Dalí's final drawing) after the king visited him on his deathbed. Although he is undoubtedly one of the most famous artists of the 20th century, his status is controversial; many critics consider that he did little if anything of consequence after his classic Surrealist works of the 1930s.

Web: www.salvador-dali.org
Dali Museum Figueres

 
 
 
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Dali Museum in Port Lligat