Salvador Dali (1904-1989)

The Extraordinary Life of Salvador Dali

Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dali y Domenech was born on May 11, 1904, in the small agricultural town of Figueres, Spain, in the foothills of the Pyrenees, only sixteen miles from the French border in the principality of Catalonia. The son of a prosperous notary, he spent his boyhood in Figueres and at the family's summer home in the coastal fishing village of Cadaques. His parents built his first studio in Cadaques and for most of his adult life he lived in a fantastic villa in nearby Port Lligat.

The young Dali attended the San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid. Early recognition of Dali's talent came with his first one-man show, held in Barcelona in 1925. He became internationally known when three of his paintings, including the Basket of Bread (now in the Salvador Dali Museum Collection) were shown in the third annual Carnegie International Exhibition in Pittsburgh in 1928.

The following year Dali went to Paris where he also held a one-man show. He also joined the Paris Surrealist Group. That same year Dali met Gala Eluard when she visited him in Cadaques with her husband, the French poet Paul Eluard. She became Dali's lover, muse, business manager, and chief inspiration. In 1934 Dali and Gala were married in a civil ceremony and made their first trip to America.

Dali emerged as a leader of the Surrealist movement and his painting, Persistence of Memory (1931) is still one of the best known surrealist works. But, as war approached, the apolitical Dali clashed with the Surrealists and he was expelled during a trial conducted by the group in 1934. Although he did exhibit works in international surrealist exhibitions throughout the decade, asserting that: "le Surrealisme c'est moi," by 1940 he was ready to move into a new era, one that he termed "classic."

Just prior to World War II, Dali and Gala fled from Europe, spending 1940-48 in the United States. The subsequent decades were very important years for the artist. The Museum of Modern Art in New York gave Dali his major retrospective in 1941. In the years following 1949 Dali produced his 18 large canvases, many concerning scientific, historical or religious themes. Among the best-known of these works are Christ of St. John of the Cross, in Glasgow, Scotland; The Hallucinogenic Toreador and The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in the Museum's collection; and The Sacrament of the Last Supper in the collection of the National Gallery in Washington D.C. Also at this time, Dali returned to the Catholic faith of his youth and he and Gala were married in a second ceremony in 1958, this time in a chapel near Girona, Spain.

In 1974 Dali opened the Teatro Museo Dali in Figueres. This was followed by retrospectives in Paris and London at the end of the decade. After Gala's death in 1982, Dali's health began to fail. It deteriorated further after he was severely burned in a fire in Gala's castle in Pubol, Spain, in 1984. Two years later, a pacemaker was implanted. Much of the years 1980-89 were spent in almost total seclusion, first in Pubol and later in his private room in the Torre Galatea, adjacent to the Teatro Museo Dali.

On January 23, 1989, Salvador Dali died in a hospital in Figueres from heart failure and respiratory complications. (Source: The Official Site of Salvador Dali Museum - St. Petersburgh, FL.)

The Gallery

Stil Life: Sandia

Stil Life: Sandia (1924) - 55 Kb

The First Days of Spring

The First Days of Spring (1929) - 33 Kb

Apparatus in Hand

Aparatus in Hand (1927) - 36 Kb

Illuminated Pleasures

Illumined Pleasures (1929) - 49 Kb

Lugubrious Game

Lugubrious Game (1929) - 117 Kb

The Persistance of Memory

The Persistence of Memory (1931) - 45 Kb

Diurnal Fantasies

Diurnal Fantasies (1932) - 23 kB

Vestiges After the Rain

Atavistic Vestiges After the Rain (1934) - 34 Kb

Surrealistic Poster

Surrealist Poster (1934) - 32 Kb

Enigmatic Elements

Enigmatic Elements in the Landscape (1934) - 57 Kb

The Invention of the Monster

The Invention of the Monsters (1937) - 46 Kb

Endless Enigma

The Endless Enigma (1938) - 44 Kb

Illuminated Philosofer

Philosopher Illuminated by the Light of the Moon and the Setting Sun (1939) - 44 Kb

Juliet's Tomb

Juliet's Tomb (1942) - 55 Kb

Sentimental Colloquy

Sentimental Colloquy (1944) - 63 Kb

Leda Atomica

Leda Atomica (1949) - 51 Kb

The Madona of Port Lligat

The Madonna of Port Lligat (1950 ) - 79 Kb


Asummpta Corpuscularia Lapislazulina (1952) - 77 Kb


The Disintegration of Persistence of Memory (1952-1954) - 37 Kb

The Colossus of Rhodes

The Colossus of Rhodes (1954) - 49 Kb


Rhinocerotic Disintegration of Illissus of Phidias (1954) - 47 Kb

Two Adolescents

Two Adolescents (1954) - 29 Kb

The Last Supper

The Sacrament of the Last Supper (1955) - 51 Kb

The Discovery...

The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus (1959) - 79 Kb. Strange... This one was painted in the same year when my youngest brother was born. Later he discovered America and moved to live there. Sad story...

The Virgin of Guadelupe

The Virgin of Guadalupe (1959) - 114 Kb

The Ecumenical Council

The Ecumenical Council (1960) - 49 Kb

The Halucinogenic Toreador

The Hallucinogenic Toreador (1969-1970) - 46 Kb


Collected by Andrey Kirkov, 1999

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