Salvador Dalí i Domènech

Painter, decorator, and writer

DATE OF BIRTH May 11th, 1904

DATE OF DEATH January 23, 1989

PLACE OF BIRTH Figueres, Spain

PLACE OF DEATH Figueres, Spain

FULL NAME Salvador Felip Jacint Dalí i Domènech

“There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad.” —Salvador Dalí

Undoubtedly one of the quirkiest and most universally known figures in the history of Catalonia, this mad genius was born to humble beginnings, as the son of a public notary in a small Catalonian town near the French border.

Salvador Dalí i Domènech studied at the Escola Municipal de Dibuix in his native Figueres. He moved on to study at the Escuela de Bellas Artes in Madrid in 1922, only to be expelled in 1926. He was a regular at the Residencia de Estudiantes, where he became a member of the group that would be later known as the ‘Generation of ’27’. It was there that he formed a close relationship with Spanish cinematographer Luis Buñuel, as well as the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca.

He began exhibiting his work in the Galeries Dalmau of Barcelona in 1925, 1926 and 1928. In 1935, he first showed his controversial side after exhibiting in the Llibreria Catalònia and publishing articles in the magazine l’Amic de les Arts, as well as participating in conferences at the Ateneu Barcelonès, where he insulted the memory of Catalonian writer Àngel Guimerà, provoking violent reactions from all sides.

At the end of the 20s, he moved to Paris, where he would become the most brilliant figure in pictorial surrealism. It was there that he met the wife of Paul Éluard, Elena Diakonova, known as Gala. They would soon become romantically involved and she would go on to become his wife, his muse, and his adviser.

From 1940 to 1948 he lived in New York, consolidating his international acclaim which he gained, thanks not only to his paintings, but also due to his eccentric theatrics and showmanship. He held numerous personal exhibitions, the most celebrated being at the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1941. He also wrote and published works, such as The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí (1942), the novel Hidden Faces (1944), two copies of Dalí News (1945-47) and Fifty Secrets of Magic Craftmanship (1948), among others.

Participating in such public activities which stray from Surrealist orthodoxy, he also showed support to the military dictator of Spain, Francisco Franco in 1939. This caused André Breton to expel him from the surrealist group and accuse him of being a fascist. In fact, it was Breton who coined the derogatory anagram Avida Dollars ‘Thirsty for dollars’ from Salvador Dalí’s name.

He alternated residences between the US and Portlligat, the village that would become the leitmotiv of his works.

Upon his return to Spain in 1948, he claimed have begun following the spiritual traditions of Zurbarán, Murillo, Valdés Leal, and the great mystics of Castilian-language literature. His conference ¿Por qué fui sacrílego, por qué soy místico?  ‘Why was I sacrilegious, why am I a mystic?’ at the Ateneu Barcelonès had a similar response to his previous one, although of opposed significance. Nonetheless, his attitude and nuanced praise of Picasso contributed to a certain liberalization of the official concept of art.

His paintings, of an undeniably excellent quality and originality, were the fruit of the Catalan cultural movement Noucentisme. And after a brief stint experimenting with cubist surrealism, he adopted what he called ‘paranoiacritical activity’, which gave way to his most characteristic works: oneiric scenes executed with extraordinary technical meticulousness, influenced by metaphysical art and the works of Feliu Elias. Some of these works include Basket of Bread (1925), Honey Is Sweeter Than Blood (1927), Portrait of Paul Eluard (1929), The Great Masturbator (1929), The Lugubrious Game (1929), Persistence of Memory (melting clocks) (1931), Portrait of Gala (1931), Birth of Liquid Desires (1932), El desnonament del moble-aliment (1934), Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War) (1936), Soft Self-Portrait with Grilled Bacon (1941), different variations based on The Angelus by Millet, etc.

His taste for desolate scenes seems to be the influence of Modest Urgell, as well as the landscapes of the Empordà region of coastal Catalonia. His stay in Italy during the Spanish Civil War from 1936-39 brought the beginning of a period dominated by religious, historical and allegorical themes. These include: The Temptation of St. Anthony (1947), Leda Atomica (1949), The Madonna of Portlligat (1950), Christ of St. John of the Cross (1950), Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus (1959), The Battle of Tetuan (1962)–a homage to Marià Fortuny–, etc.

It was during this time that he achieved his most spectacular visual effects: Bust of Voltaire (1941), Portrait of My Dead Brother (1936). In the following years, he began using holography and made such stereoscopic paintings as The Chair (1975).

In addition to an endless amount of international and anthological exhibitions, he also carried out an extensive revisiting of the art pompier style (Meissonier, Fortuny, Gustave Moreau) and contributed to the awareness of Catalan modernism around the world.

Salvador Dalí also collaborated on a few films: Un chien andalou (Paris), L’âge d’or (1931), both directed by Luis Buñuel, although he disapproved of the anti-clerical tone of the latter’s script.

In 1932, he published the script Babaoua, which would never be filmed, as well as an Abrégé d’une histoire critique du cinema. In 1945, he worked on Spellbound by Alfred Hitchcock, designing the scene of the dream. He starred in Le divin (1968) by André Smagghe, and shot the unfinished tape L’aventure prodigieuse de la dentellière et du rhinocéros and Impressions de la Haute Mongolie with Robert Descharnes (1975).

He designed the set and wrote the libretto for the ballet pieces Bacanale (1939), Labyrinth (1941), Mad Tristan (1944), etc. In fact, Salvador Dalí began working in theater in Barcelona with the staging for Les forces de l’amor i de la màgia (1927), a 17th-century farce directed by Adrià Gual. Later on, he would collaborate with Visconti in Rosalinda or As you like it (1949) and with Luis Escobar in Don Juan Tenorio (1949).

Furthermore, Dalí cultivated his skills in poster design and etchings, such as in the series L’alquímia dels filòsofs (1976), and book illustrations, most notably the Divine Comedy (1953), Don Quixote (1957) and our collection, The One Thousand and One Nights.

Learn more about Salvador Dalí

 

Salvador Dalí Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida.

Theater-Museum Dalí, Figueres, Spain.

Salvador Dalí i Domènech

Painter, decorator, and writer

DATE OF BIRTH May 11th, 1904

DATE OF DEATH January 23, 1989

PLACE OF BIRTH Figueres, Spain

PLACE OF DEATH Figueres, Spain

FULL NAME Salvador Felip Jacint Dalí i Domènech

“There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad.” —Salvador Dalí

Undoubtedly one of the quirkiest and most universally known figures in the history of Catalonia, this mad genius was born to humble beginnings, as the son of a public notary in a small Catalonian town near the French border.

Salvador Dalí i Domènech studied at the Escola Municipal de Dibuix in his native Figueres. He moved on to study at the Escuela de Bellas Artes in Madrid in 1922, only to be expelled in 1926. He was a regular at the Residencia de Estudiantes, where he became a member of the group that would be later known as the ‘Generation of ’27’. It was there that he formed a close relationship with Spanish cinematographer Luis Buñuel, as well as the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca.

He began exhibiting his work in the Galeries Dalmau of Barcelona in 1925, 1926 and 1928. In 1935, he first showed his controversial side after exhibiting in the Llibreria Catalònia and publishing articles in the magazine l’Amic de les Arts, as well as participating in conferences at the Ateneu Barcelonès, where he insulted the memory of Catalonian writer Àngel Guimerà, provoking violent reactions from all sides.

At the end of the 20s, he moved to Paris, where he would become the most brilliant figure in pictorial surrealism. It was there that he met the wife of Paul Éluard, Elena Diakonova, known as Gala. They would soon become romantically involved and she would go on to become his wife, his muse, and his adviser.

From 1940 to 1948 he lived in New York, consolidating his international acclaim which he gained, thanks not only to his paintings, but also due to his eccentric theatrics and showmanship. He held numerous personal exhibitions, the most celebrated being at the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1941. He also wrote and published works, such as The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí (1942), the novel Hidden Faces (1944), two copies of Dalí News (1945-47) and Fifty Secrets of Magic Craftmanship (1948), among others.

Participating in such public activities which stray from Surrealist orthodoxy, he also showed support to the military dictator of Spain, Francisco Franco in 1939. This caused André Breton to expel him from the surrealist group and accuse him of being a fascist. In fact, it was Breton who coined the derogatory anagram Avida Dollars ‘Thirsty for dollars’ from Salvador Dalí’s name.

He alternated residences between the US and Portlligat, the village that would become the leitmotiv of his works.

Upon his return to Spain in 1948, he claimed have begun following the spiritual traditions of Zurbarán, Murillo, Valdés Leal, and the great mystics of Castilian-language literature. His conference ¿Por qué fui sacrílego, por qué soy místico?  ‘Why was I sacrilegious, why am I a mystic?’ at the Ateneu Barcelonès had a similar response to his previous one, although of opposed significance. Nonetheless, his attitude and nuanced praise of Picasso contributed to a certain liberalization of the official concept of art.

His paintings, of an undeniably excellent quality and originality, were the fruit of the Catalan cultural movement Noucentisme. And after a brief stint experimenting with cubist surrealism, he adopted what he called ‘paranoiacritical activity’, which gave way to his most characteristic works: oneiric scenes executed with extraordinary technical meticulousness, influenced by metaphysical art and the works of Feliu Elias. Some of these works include Basket of Bread (1925), Honey Is Sweeter Than Blood (1927), Portrait of Paul Eluard (1929), The Great Masturbator (1929), The Lugubrious Game (1929), Persistence of Memory (melting clocks) (1931), Portrait of Gala (1931), Birth of Liquid Desires (1932), El desnonament del moble-aliment (1934), Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War) (1936), Soft Self-Portrait with Grilled Bacon (1941), different variations based on The Angelus by Millet, etc.

His taste for desolate scenes seems to be the influence of Modest Urgell, as well as the landscapes of the Empordà region of coastal Catalonia. His stay in Italy during the Spanish Civil War from 1936-39 brought the beginning of a period dominated by religious, historical and allegorical themes. These include: The Temptation of St. Anthony (1947), Leda Atomica (1949), The Madonna of Portlligat (1950), Christ of St. John of the Cross (1950), Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus (1959), The Battle of Tetuan (1962)–a homage to Marià Fortuny–, etc.

It was during this time that he achieved his most spectacular visual effects: Bust of Voltaire (1941), Portrait of My Dead Brother (1936). In the following years, he began using holography and made such stereoscopic paintings as The Chair (1975).

In addition to an endless amount of international and anthological exhibitions, he also carried out an extensive revisiting of the art pompier style (Meissonier, Fortuny, Gustave Moreau) and contributed to the awareness of Catalan modernism around the world.

Salvador Dalí also collaborated on a few films: Un chien andalou (Paris), L’âge d’or (1931), both directed by Luis Buñuel, although he disapproved of the anti-clerical tone of the latter’s script.

In 1932, he published the script Babaoua, which would never be filmed, as well as an Abrégé d’une histoire critique du cinema. In 1945, he worked on Spellbound by Alfred Hitchcock, designing the scene of the dream. He starred in Le divin (1968) by André Smagghe, and shot the unfinished tape L’aventure prodigieuse de la dentellière et du rhinocéros and Impressions de la Haute Mongolie with Robert Descharnes (1975).

He designed the set and wrote the libretto for the ballet pieces Bacanale (1939), Labyrinth (1941), Mad Tristan (1944), etc. In fact, Salvador Dalí began working in theater in Barcelona with the staging for Les forces de l’amor i de la màgia (1927), a 17th-century farce directed by Adrià Gual. Later on, he would collaborate with Visconti in Rosalinda or As you like it (1949) and with Luis Escobar in Don Juan Tenorio (1949).

Furthermore, Dalí cultivated his skills in poster design and etchings, such as in the series L’alquímia dels filòsofs (1976), and book illustrations, most notably the Divine Comedy (1953), Don Quixote (1957) and our collection, The One Thousand and One Nights.

Learn more about Salvador Dalí

 

Salvador Dalí Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida.

Theater-Museum Dalí, Figueres, Spain.