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Famous artist - Salvador Dali Salvador Dali Biographies

  • Salvador Dali or Domenec Felip Jacint Dalí Domenech was born on May 11, 1904 and passed away on January 23, 1989. He was an important Catalan-Spanish painter, best known for his surrealist works. Dalis work is noted for its striking combination of bizarre dreamlike images with excellent draftsmanship and painterly skills influenced by the Renaissance masters. Dalí was an artist of great talent and imagination. He had an admitted love of doing unusual things to draw attention to himself, which sometimes irked those who loved his art as much as it annoyed his critics, since his eccentric theatrical manner sometimes overshadowed his artwork in public attention.

    Salvador Dali Biography
    Dalí was born 08:45 a.m. May 11, 1904, at number 20 Monturiolin street in the town of Figueres, Catalonia, Spain, the son of comfortable middle-class notary Salvador Dalí i Cusí. Dalí attended Municipal Drawing School, where he first received formal art training. In 1916 Dalí discovered modern painting on a summer vacation to Cadaqués 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 his mother died of cancer, and his father married the sister of his deceased wife, which the younger Salvador somewhat resented.

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    In 1922 Dali moved to Madrid, where he studied at the Academy of Arts (Academia de San Fernando). Dalí already drew attention as an eccentric, wearing long hair and sideburns, coat, stockings and knee britches in the fashion style of a century earlier. What got him the most attention from his fellow students were his paintings where he experimented with Cubism (even though in these earliest Cubist works he arguably did not completely understand the movement, for his only information on Cubist art came from a few magazine articles and a catalogue given to him by Pichot, since there were no Cubist artists in Madrid at the time).

    Dalí also experimented with Dadaism, which arguably influenced his work throughout his life. He became close friends with poet Federico García Lorca, with whom he became romantically involved, and with Luis Buñuel at this time. Dalí was expelled from the Academy in 1926 shortly before his final exams when he stated that no one on the faculty was competent to examine him.

    That same year he made his first visit to Paris, where he met with Pablo Picasso, whom young Dalí revered; the older artist 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 groped towards developing his own style. Some trends in Dalí's work that would continue throughout his life were already evident in the 1920s, however: Dalí omnivorously devoured influences of all styles of art he could find and then produced works ranging from the most academic classicism 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.

    1929 was an important year for Dalí. He collaborated with Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel on the short film Un Chien Andalou and met his muse and future wife, Gala, born Helena Deluvina Diakinoff, a Russian immigrant eleven years his senior who was then married to the surrealist poet Paul Eluard. 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 2 years). The Surrealist hailed what Dalí called the Paranoiac-critical method of accessing the subconscious for greater artistic creativity.

    In 1934 Dalí and Gala, having lived together since 1929, were married in a civil ceremony.

    Upon Francisco Franco's coming to power in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, Dalí came into conflict with his fellow Surrealists over political beliefs. As such Dalí was officially expelled from the predominantly Marxist Surrealist group. Dalí's response to his expulsion was "Surrealism is me." Andre Breton coined the anagram "Avida Dollars," by which he referred to the Dalí after the period of his expulsion; the Surrealists henceforth would speak of Dalí in the past tense, as if he were dead. The surrealist movement and various members (such as Ted Joans) thereof would continue to issue extremely harsh polemics against Dalí until the time of his death and beyond.

    As war 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.

    He spent his remaining years back in his beloved Catalonia. The fact that he chose to live in Spain while it was ruled by Franco drew criticism from progressives and many other artists. Some think that the common dismissal of Dalí's later works has more to do with politics than the actual merits of the works themselves.


    Late in his career Dalí did not confine himself to painting but experimented with many unusual or novel media and processes; for example, he made bulletist works and claimed to have been the first to employ holography in an artistic manner. Several of his works incorporate optical illusions.

    Dalí's flamboyant moustache became well known. It was influenced by that of 17th century Spanish master painter Diego Velázquez.

    In 1958, Dalí and Gala were re-married in a Roman Catholic ceremony.

    In 1960 Dalí began work on the Teatro-Museo Gala Salvador Dalí 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.

    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 microscopic animals 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 a murder attempt by a greedy caretaker, possibly simple negligence by his staff-- but 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 accusations against his caretakers for having presumedly forced Dalí to sign blank sheets that would be later (even after his death) printed and sold as originals. Art dealers are wary of late works attributed to Dalí.

    Salvador Dalí died of heart failure on January 23, 1989 at Figueres, Catalonia, Spain. He is buried in the crypt of his Teatro Museo in Figueres.


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