Salvador Dalí



Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dalí Domènech or Salvador Felip Jacint Dalí Domènech (May 11, 1904 – January 23, 1989), known popularly as Salvador Dalí, was a Catalan-Spanish artist who became one of the most important painters of the 20th century. A skilled draftsman, he is best known for his surrealist work identified by its striking, bizarre, dreamlike images. His painterly skills are often attributed to the influence of Renaissance masters. His best known work, The Persistence of Memory, was completed in 1931. In addition to painting, his artistic repertoire included film, sculpture, photography, and an Academy Award-winning short cartoon, "Destino," on which he collaborated with Walt Disney; it was released posthumously in 2003.

An artist of great imagination, Dalí had an affinity for doing unusual things to draw attention to himself. This sometimes irked those who loved his art as much as it annoyed his critics, since his eccentric manner sometimes drew more public attention than his artwork.

Dalí was born on May 11, 1904, at 8.45 am local time in the town of Figueres, in the Empordà region close to the French border in Catalonia, Spain. Concerning his birth, Dali "was born at his domicile at forty five minutes after eight o'clock on the eleventh day of the present month of May." His father, Salvador Dalí i Cusí, was a middle-class lawyer and notary. Dalí's father, a strict disciplinarian, was tempered by his wife, Felipa Domenech Ferres, who encouraged her son's artistic endeavors. Dalí had an older brother, also named Salvador, who died of meningitis prior to the artist's birth. When he was five, Dalí was taken to his brother's grave and told by his parents that he was his brother reincarnated, which he came to believe. Of his brother, Dali said: "my brother died at the age of seven from an attack of meningitis, three years before I was born...we resembled each other like two drops of water, but we had different reflections." He "was probably a first version of myself but conceived too much in the absolute." Dalí also had a sister, Ana María, who was three years his junior. In 1949 his sister, Ana Maria, published a book about her brother, Dali As Seen By His Sister.

Dalí attended drawing school, where he first received formal art training. In 1916, Dalí discovered modern painting on a summer vacation to Cadaqués (in the nearby Costa Brava) with the family of Ramon Pichot, a local artist who made regular trips to Paris. The next year, Dalí's father organized an exhibition of his charcoal drawings in their family home. He had his first public exhibition at the Municipal Theater in Figueres in 1919. In 1921, Dalí’s mother died of breast cancer when he was 16 years old. His mother's death "was the greatest blow I had experienced in my life. I worshipped her...I could not resign myself to the loss of a being on whom I counted to make invisible the unavoidable blemishes of my soul." After her death, Dalí’s father married the sister of his deceased wife; Dalí somewhat resented this marriage.

In 1922, Dalí moved into the Residencia de estudiantes (Students' Residence) in Madrid and there studied at the San Fernando School of Fine Arts. Dalí already drew attention as an eccentric, wearing long hair and sideburns, coat, stockings and knee breeches in the fashion style of a century earlier. But his paintings, where he experimented with Cubism, earned him the most attention from his fellow students. In these earliest Cubist works, he probably did not completely understand the movement, since his only information on Cubist art came from a few magazine articles and a catalogue given to him by Pichot, and there were no Cubist artists in Madrid at the time.

Dalí also experimented with Dada, which influenced his work throughout his life. At the San Fernando School of Fine Arts, he became close friends with the poet Federico García Lorca, with whom he might have become romantically involved, and filmmaker Luis Buñuel. Dalí was expelled from the academy in 1926 shortly before his final exams when he stated that no one on the faculty was competent enough to examine him.

That same year he made his first visit to Paris where he met with Pablo Picasso, whom young Dalí revered; Picasso had already heard favorable things about Dalí from Joan Miró. Dalí did a number of works heavily influenced by Picasso and Miró over the next few years as he moved toward developing his own style.

Some trends in Dalí's work that would continue throughout his life were already evident in the 1920s, however. Dalí devoured influences of all styles of art he could find and then produced works ranging from the most academically classic to the most cutting-edge avant-garde, sometimes in separate works and sometimes combined. Exhibitions of his works in Barcelona attracted much attention and mixtures of praise and puzzled debate from critics.

Dalí grew a flamboyant moustache, which became iconic of him; it was influenced by that of 17th century Spanish master painter Diego Velázquez.

Dalí collaborated with the surrealistic film director Luis Buñuel in 1929 on the short film Un chien andalou (English: An Andalusian Dog) and met his muse, inspiration, and future wife Gala, born Helena Dmitrievna Deluvina Diakonova, a Russian immigrant eleven years his senior who was then married to the surrealist poet Paul Éluard. He was mainly responsible for helping Buñuel write the script for the film, but Dalí later claimed to have had a greater creative force in the filming of the project. Contemporary accounts, however, do not substantiate this claim. In the same year, Dalí had important professional exhibitions and officially joined the surrealist group in the Montparnasse quarter of Paris (although his work had already been heavily influenced by surrealism for two years). The surrealists hailed what Dalí called the Paranoiac-critical method of accessing the subconscious for greater artistic creativity.

In 1931, Dalí painted one of his most famous works, The Persistence of Memory. Sometimes called Soft Watches or Melting Clocks, the work introduced the surrealistic image of the soft, melting pocket watch. The general interpretation of the work is that the soft watches debunk the assumption that time is rigid or deterministic, and this sense is supported by other images in the work, including the ants and fly devouring the other watches.

Dalí and Gala, having lived together since 1929, were married in 1934 in a civil ceremony. They remarried in a Roman Catholic ceremony in 1958.

In 1936, Dalí took part in the London International Surrealist Exhibition. His lecture entitled Fantomes paranoiaques authentiques was delivered wearing a deep-sea diving suit. When Francisco Franco came to power in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, Dalí came into conflict with his fellow surrealists over political beliefs and was officially expelled from the predominantly Marxist group. Dalí's response to his expulsion was "Surrealism is me." André Breton coined the anagram "avida dollars" (for Salvador Dalí), which more or less translates to "eager for dollars," by which he referred to Dalí after the period of his expulsion; the surrealists henceforth spoke of Dalí in the past tense, as if he were dead. The surrealist movement and various members thereof (such as Ted Joans) would continue to issue extremely harsh polemics against Dalí until the time of his death and beyond. As World War II started in Europe, Dalí and Gala moved to the United States in 1940, where they lived for eight years. In 1942, he published his entertaining autobiography, The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí.

Dalí spent his remaining years back in his beloved Catalonia starting in 1949. The fact that he chose to live in Spain while it was ruled by Franco drew criticism from progressives and many other artists. As such, probably at least some of the common dismissal of Dalí's later works had more to do with politics than the actual merits of the works themselves. In 1959, André Breton organized an exhibit called, Homage to Surrealism, celebrating the Fortieth Anniversary of Surrealism, which contained works by Salvador 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.

Late in his career, Dalí did not confine himself to painting but experimented with many unusual or novel media and processes: he made bulletist works and was among the first artists to employ holography in an artistic manner. Several of his works incorporate optical illusions. In his later years, young artists like Andy Warhol proclaimed Dalí an important influence on pop art. Dalí also had a keen interest in natural science and mathematics. This is manifested in several of his paintings, notably in the 1950s when he painted his subjects as composed of rhinoceros horns, signifying divine geometry (as the rhinoceros horn grows according to a logarithmic spiral) and chastity (as Dalí linked the rhinoceros to the Virgin Mary). Dalí was also fascinated by DNA and the hypercube; the latter, a 4-dimensional cube, is featured in the painting Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus).

In 1960, Dalí began work on the Dalí Theatre and Museum in his home town of Figueres; it was his largest single project and the main focus of his energy through 1974. He continued to make additions through the mid-1980s. He found time, however, to design the Chupa Chups logo in 1969.

In 1982, King Juan Carlos of Spain bestowed on Dalí the title Marquis of Pubol, for which Dalí later paid him back 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.

Gala died on June 10, 1982. After Gala's death, Dalí lost much of his will to live. He deliberately dehydrated himself—possibly as a suicide attempt, possibly in an attempt to put himself into a state of suspended animation, as he had read that some microorganisms could do. He moved from Figueres to the castle in Pubol which he had bought for Gala and was the site of her death. In 1984, a fire broke out in his bedroom under unclear circumstances—possibly a suicide attempt by Dalí, possibly simple negligence by his staff. In any case, Dalí was rescued and returned to Figueres where a group of his friends, patrons, and fellow artists saw to it that he was comfortable living in his Theater-Museum for his final years.

There have been allegations that his guardians forced Dalí to sign blank canvases that would later (even after his death) be used and sold as originals. As a result, art dealers tend to be wary of late works attributed to Dalí. He died of heart failure at Figueres on January 23, 1989 at the age of 84, and he is buried in the crypt of his Teatro Museo in Figueres.

Dalí employed extensive symbolism in his work. For instance, the hallmark soft watches that first appear in The Persistence of Memory suggest Einstein's theory that time is relative and not fixed. The idea for clocks functioning symbolically in this way came to Dalí when he was staring at a runny piece of Camembert cheese during a hot day in August.

The elephant is also a recurring image in Dalí's works, appearing first and very prominently in his 1946 work The Temptation of St. Anthony. The elephants, inspired by Gian Lorenzo Bernini's sculpture in Rome of an elephant carrying an obelisk, are portrayed "with long, multi-jointed, almost invisible legs of desire" along with obelisks on their backs. Coupled with the image of their brittle legs, these encumbrances, noted for their phallic overtones, create a sense of weightlessness. "The elephant is a distortion in space," one analysis explains, "its spindly legs contrasting the idea of weightlessness with structure."

The egg is another common Daliesque image. He connects the egg to the prenatal and intrauterine, thus using it to symbolize hope and love; it appears in The Great Masturbator and The Metamorphosis of Narcissus. Various animals appear throughout his work as well: ants point to death, decay, and immense sexual desire; the snail is connected to the human head (he saw a snail on a bicycle outside Freud’s house when he first met Sigmund Freud); and locusts are a symbol of waste and fear.

His fascination with ants has a strange explanation. When Dali was a young boy he had a pet bat. One day he discovered his bat dead, covered in ants. He thus developed a fascination and fear of ants.

Dalí was a versatile artist, not limiting himself only to painting in his artistic endeavors. In fact, some of his more popular artistic works include sculptures and other objects, and he is also noted for his contributions to theatre, fashion, and photography, among other areas.

Two of the most popular objects of the surrealist movement were the Lobster Telephone and the Mae West Lips Sofa, completed by Dalí in 1936 and 1937, respectively. The Scottish patron Edward James commissioned both of these pieces from Dalí; James, an eccentric who had inherited a large English estate when he was five, was one of the foremost supporters of the surrealists in the 1930s. "Lobsters and telephones had strong sexual connotations for Dalí" according to the display caption for the Lobster Telephone at the Tate Gallery, "and he drew a close analogy between food and sex." The telephone was functional, and James purchased four of them from Dalí to replace the phones in his retreat home. One now appears at the Tate Gallery; the second can be found at the German Telephone Museum in Frankfurt; the third belongs to the Edward James Foundation; and the fourth is at the National Gallery of Australia. The wood and satin Mae West Lips Sofa was shaped after the lips of actress Mae West, who Dalí apparently found fascinating. West was previously the subject of Dalí's 1935 painting The Face of Mae West. The Mae West Lips Sofa currently resides at the Brighton and Hove Museum in England.

In theatre, Dalí is remembered for constructing the scenery for García Lorca's 1927 romantic play Mariana Pineda. For Bacchanale (1939), a ballet based on and set to the music of Richard Wagner's 1845 opera Tannhäuser, Dalí provided both the set design and the libretto. Bacchanale was followed by set designs for Labyrinth in 1941 and The Three-Cornered Hat in 1949.

Dalí also delved into the realms of filmmaking, most notably playing large roles in the production of Un Chien Andalou, a 17-minute French art film co-written with Luis Buñuel which is widely remembered for the graphic scene of the slicing open of a human eyeball with a razor. Dalí's other major film work is the Disney cartoon production Destino; clocking in at a mere six minutes, it contains dream-like images of strange figures flying and walking about. Dalí also designed the dream sequence in Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound (1945 film) which heavily delves into themes of psychoanalysis.

Dalí built a repertoire in the fashion and photography industries as well. In fashion, his cooperation with the Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli is well-known, where Dalí was hired by Schiaparelli to produce a white dress with a lobster print. Other designs Dalí made for her include a shoe-shaped hat and a pink belt with lips for a buckle. He was also involved in creating textile designs and perfume bottles. With Christian Dior in 1950, Dalí created a special "costume for the year 2045." Photographers with whom he collaborated include Man Ray, Brassaï, Cecil Beaton, and Philippe Halsman. With Man Ray and Brassaï, Dalí photographed nature, while with the others he explored a range of obscure topics, including with Halsman the Dalí Atomica series (1948)—inspired by his painting Leda Atomica—which in one photograph depicts "a painter’s easel, three cats, a bucket of water and Dalí himself floating in the air."

References to Dalí in the context of science are made in terms of his fascination with the paradigm shift that accompanied the birth of quantum mechanics in the twentieth century. Inspired by Werner Heisenberg's Uncertainty principle, in 1958 he wrote in his "Anti-Matter Manifesto": "In the Surrealist period I wanted to create the iconography of the interior world and the world of the marvelous, of my father Freud. Today the exterior world and that of physics, has transcended the one of psychology. My father today is Dr. Heisenberg." In this respect, The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory, which appeared in 1954, in hearkening back to The Persistence of Memory and portraying that painting in fragmentation and disintegration, summarizes Dalí's acknowledgment of the new science.

Architectural achievements include his Port Lligat house near Cadaqués as well as the Dream of Venus surrealist pavilion at the 1939 World's Fair which contained within it a number of unusual sculptures and statues. His literary works include The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí (1942), Diary of a Genius (1952–1963), and Oui: The Paranoid-Critical Revolution (1927–1933).The artist worked extensively in the graphic arts producing many etchings and lithographs. While his early work in printmaking is equal in quality to his important paintings as he grew older he unfortunately looked at printmaking as a money making scheme only and would sell the rights to images and not even be involved to in the print production itself. In addition a large number of unauthorized fakes were produced in the eighties and ninties thus further confusing the Dali print market.

The politics of Salvador Dalí played a significant role in his emergence as an artist. He has sometimes been portrayed as a fascist supporter. The reality is probably somewhat more complex; in any event, he was probably not an anti-semite, given that he was a friendly acquaintance of famed architect and designer Paul Laszlo, who was ethnically Jewish.

In his youth, Dalí embraced for a time both anarchism and communism. His writings account various anecdotes of making radical political statements more to shock listeners than from any deep conviction, which was in keeping with Dalí's allegiance to the Dada movement. When he fell into the circle of mostly Marxist surrealists who denounced as enemies the monarchists on one hand and the anarchists on the other, Dalí explained to them that he personally was an anarcho-monarchist.

With the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, Dalí fled from fighting and refused to align himself with any group. After his return to Catalonia after World War II, Dalí became closer to the Franco regime. Some of Dalí's statements supported the repression enacted under Franco's fascist regime, congratulating Franco for his actions aimed "at clearing Spain of destructive forces." Dalí sent telegrams to Franco, "praising him for signing death warrants for political prisoners." Dalí even painted a portrait of Franco's grand-daughter. It is impossible to determine whether his tributes to Franco were sincere or whimsical; he also once sent a telegram praising the Conducător, Romanian Communist leader Nicolae Ceauşescu, for his adoption of a sceptre as part of his regalia. The Romanian daily newspaper Scînteia published it, without suspecting its mocking aspect. Dalí's eccentricities were tolerated by the Franco regime, since not many world-famous artists would accept living in Spain. One of Dalí's few possible bits of open disobedience was his continued praise of Federico García Lorca even in the years when Lorca's works were banned.

In Carlos Lozano's biography, Sex, Surrealism, Dalí and Me, produced by the collaboration of Clifford Thurlow, Lozano makes it clear that Dalí never stopped being a surrealist. As Dalí said of himself: "the only difference between me and the surrealists is that I am a surrealist." Everything, including his support for Franco and telegrams to Ceauşescu, must be seen in this light. Dalí is famous for having said "every morning upon awakening, I experience a supreme pleasure: that of being Salvador Dalí."

Dalí produced over 1,500 paintings in his career, in addition to producing illustrations for books, lithographs, designs for theater sets and costumes, a great number of drawings, dozens of sculptures, and various other projects, including an animated cartoon for Disney. Below is a chronological sample of important and representative work, as well as some notes on what Dalí did in particular years:

* 1910 Landscape Near Figueras
* 1913 Vilabertin
* 1916 Fiesta in Figueras (begun 1914)
* 1917 View of Cadaqués with Shadow of Mount Pani
* 1918 Crepuscular Old Man (begun 1917)
* 1919 Port of Cadaqués (Night) (begun 1918) and Self-portrait in the Studio
* 1920 The Artist’s Father at Llane Beach and View of Portdogué (Port Aluger)
* 1921 The Garden of Llaner (Cadaqués) (begun 1920) and Self-portrait
* 1922 Cabaret Scene and Night Walking Dreams
* 1923 Self Portrait with L'Humanite and Cubist Self Portrait with La Publicitat
* 1924 Still Life (Syphon and Bottle of Rum) (for García Lorca) and Portrait of Luis Buñuel
* 1925 Large Harlequin and Small Bottle of Rum, and a series of fine portraits of his sister Anna Maria, most notably Figure At A Window
* 1926 Basket of Bread and Girl from Figueres
* 1927 Composition With Three Figures (Neo-Cubist Academy) and Honey is Sweeter Than Blood (his first important surrealist work)
* 1929 Un chien andalou (An Andalusian Dog) film in collaboration with Luis Buñuel, The Lugubrious Game, The Great Masturbator and The First Days of Spring
* 1930 L'Âge d'Or (The Golden Age) film in collaboration with Luis Buñuel
* 1931 The Persistence of Memory (his most famous work, featuring the "melting clocks"), The Old Age of William Tell, and William Tell and Gradiva
* 1932 The Spectre of Sex Appeal, The Birth of Liquid Desires, Anthropomorphic Bread, and Fried Eggs on the Plate without the Plate. The Invisible Man (begun 1929) completed (although not to Dalí's own satisfaction).
* 1933 Retrospective Bust of a Woman (mixed media sculpture collage) and Portrait of Gala With Two Lamb Chops Balanced on Her Shoulder, Gala in the window
* 1934 The Ghost of Vermeer of Delft Which Can Be Used As a Table and A Sense of Speed
* 1935 Archaeological Reminiscence of Millet’s Angelus and The Face of Mae West
* 1936 Autumn Cannibalism, Lobster Telephone, Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War) and two works titled Morphological Echo (the first of which began in 1934).
* 1937 Metamorphosis of Narcissus, Swans Reflecting Elephants, The Burning Giraffe, Sleep, The Enigma of Hitler, and Mae West Lips Sofa
* 1938 The Sublime Moment and Apparition of a Face and Fruit Dish on the Beach
* 1940 The Face of War
* 1943 The Poetry of America and Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of the New Man
* 1944 Galarina and Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bumblebee around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening
* 1944-1948 Hidden Faces, a novel
* 1945, Basket of Bread–Rather Death Than Shame and Fountain of Milk Flowing Uselessly on Three Shoes; This year Dalí collaborated with Alfred Hitchcock on a dream sequence to the film Spellbound, to mutual dissatisfaction.
* 1946 The Temptation of St. Anthony
* 1949 Leda Atomica and The Madonna of Port Lligat. Dalí returned to Catalonia this year.
* 1951 Christ of St. John of the Cross and Exploding Raphaelesque Head.
* 1954 Corpus Hypercubus Crucifixion, Young Virgin Auto-Sodomized by the Horns of Her Own Chastity and The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory (begun in 1952).
* 1955 The Sacrament of the Last Supper, Lonesome Echo, record album cover for Jackie Gleason
* 1956 Still Life Moving Fast, Rinoceronte vestido con puntillas
* 1958 The Rose
* 1959 The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus.
* 1960 Dalí began work on the Teatro-Museo Gala Salvador Dalí
* 1965 Dalí donates a gouache, ink and pencil drawing of the Crucifixion to the Rikers Island jail in New York City. The drawing hung in the inmate dining room from 1965 to 1981.

* 1967 Tuna Fishing
* 1969 Chupa Chups logo
* 1970 The Hallucinogenic Toreador
* 1972 La Toile Daligram
* 1976 Gala Contemplating the Sea
* 1977 Dalí's Hand Drawing Back the Golden Fleece in the Form of a Cloud to Show Gala Completely Nude, Very Far Away Behind the Sun (stereoscopical pair of paintings)
* 1983 Dalí completed his final painting, The Swallow's Tail.
* 2003 Destino, an animated cartoon which was originally a collaboration between Dalí and Walt Disney, is released. Production on Destino began in 1945.

The largest collections of Dalí's work are at the Dalí Theatre and Museum in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain, followed by the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, and the Salvador Dalí Gallery in Pacific Palisades, California. Espace Salvador Dalí on Montmartre in Paris, France contains a large collection of his drawings and smaller sculptures.

The unlikeliest venue for Dalí's work was the Rikers Island jail in New York City; a sketch of the Crucifixion he donated to the jail hung in the inmate dining room for 16 years before it was moved to the prison lobby for safekeeping. The drawing was stolen in March 2003 by 4 prison guards and has not been recovered.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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