Dali's full name was Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, Marquis de Púbol.

His name was almost as long as some of the titles of his later works! He was born in Figueres, Spain on May 11, 1904 and died in 1989 also in Figueres. He is best known for his Surrealist works but had a repertoire that included sculpture, painting, photography, multimedia work, and collaborations with other artists. He was also a film maker mainly of independent surrealist films. At one time he even collaborated with Walt Disney on short film.

Sadly, his brother, also named Salvador, died as a toddler, nine months before Dali’s birth. His parents told him that he was the reincarnation of his older brother, which Dali also came to think was true. As a child, he went to drawing school, and by the age of thirteen, Dali’s father was organising exhibitions of his charcoal drawings. Dali's promise was obvious. In 1922, Dali went to the School of Fine Arts in San Fernando, where he was known as a bit of a theatrical character, or dandy, wearing long hair and sideburns as well as stockings with knee breeches mimicking the style of 19th century aesthetes.

At the academy, Dali dabbled in cubism and Dada. But he was expelled a few weeks before final exams, for claiming that no one in the school was qualified enough to examine him! After his expulsion, he travelled to Paris, where he met Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro, who were among his influences. His other influences included Giorgio de Chirico, Arnold Böcklin, Yves Tanguy, Max Ernst, Francois Millet, Dada, High Renaissance. He himself had an impact on Max Ernst (mutually influencing), Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Performance Art and Conceptual art.

In his quest, Dali continually borrowed from many painting styles, from impressionism to renaissance works and he combined all elements into single artworks, raising the eyebrows of art critics. Being a bit of a dandy Dali grew a large moustache, which became his trademark of his appearance.

In 1929, met Gala and began a relationship with the woman who would become his wife. His father disapproved, and thought surrealism was having as a demoralising influence on his son. HIs father eventually disinherited his son for creating a work with an inscription insulting his mother, who had died some years before of cancer. Dali married Gala and moved into a house at Port Lligat.

Overall he produced many universally admired works with fascinating titles, including the Apotheosis of Homer, Morphological echo, Slave market with the disappearing bust of Voltaire, Lobster telephone, Swans reflecting elephants, The persistence of memory, Crucifixion Corpus Hypercubus, Metamorphosis of Narcissus, The Hallucinogenic Toreador, Christ of Saint John of the Cross and many others.

During his middle and late years, Dali divided his life between the United States and his beloved Catalonia, Spain, working with other artists, and mixing with the social elite. He provided much fodder for the press. After his wife’s death in 1982, Dali lost interest in life, and deliberately dehydrated himself almost to the point of death. Then in 1984 there was a mysterious fire in his apartment from which he was saved. It was seen as a suicide attempt. Five years later he died at the age of 84.

But he left the world some iconic art pieces which are valued in the millions and he continues to inspire artists globally, who appreciate his rare gift and wry performance humour.


Art-Eklecto artist rating: INFINITY +