Biography of Salvador Dali

(Figueres, 11 maggio 1904 – Figueres, 23 gennaio 1989)

Salvador Dali Domènech, Marquess of Púbol was born in Figueres in Spain on May 11, 1904. Second son of the notary Salvador Dali Cusí and his mother Felipa Domenech Ferres. Dali was named as his elder brother, who died in August 1903. For Dali, his brother's death cast a permanent shadow on his life. During the summer of 1916 Dali visited the Pichot’s. It was a family interested in art. Antonio Ramon Pichot Gironés (1872 - 1925) was probably the first model for the future artist. In 1917 Dali's father organized an exhibition of charcoal drawings in the family home. Over time Dali moved into a small studio that had been used earlier by Pichot because there was not enough room to paint in his room. In 1921 Dali's mother died. In the following years Dali continued with his studies, including the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando de Madrid, which entered the School of Painting, Sculpture and Engraving. In 1923 he was expelled for leading a student demonstration against the school itself. In 1924 Dali returned to school and in the second half of 1925 he exhibited 10 paintings at the Madrid Salon and 15 paintings of his first solo exhibition at the Galleria Dalmau in Barcelona. In 1926 he was permanently expelled from school because he refused to be examined in an examination. In the month of June 1929 Dali invited a group of friends home, among whom was the wife of Paul Eluard, Gala. When Paul returned home, Gala stayed with Dali and eventually became his wife, muse and inspirer. Among his other inspirations were the cubist studies of Pablo Picasso, the director Luis Buñuel, the poet Federico Garcia Lorca and especially the landscapes of Catalonia. Around 1929, after experimenting with Cubism, futurism, purism and metaphysical painting, Dali became one of the leading figures in the Surrealist movement. He used a new technique called by him the paranoiac-critical method. This method was described by the artist as a "spontaneous method of irrational knowledge based on the interpretative-critical association of delusional phenomena". In 1929 and 1930 Dali made his first surrealist films with Luis Buñuel. Between 1930 and the beginning of the Second World War Dali regularly exhibited in Paris, among which there was a personal exhibition at the Galleria Pierre Colle where he exhibited his work "The Persistence of Memory" in 1931 which became his most famous painting. During this period, a group of collectors, including Charles de Noailles, formed a consortium to regularly acquire Dali's works and provide him with financial support. Dali and Gala made their first trip to the United States in 1934 and no longer abandoned the city of New York, often and especially during the war and in winter they went to the great metropolis. In 1934 Dali was subjected to a "trial" following which he was formally expelled from the group of surrealists. In 1940 Dali and Gala escaped from the German invasion in France and he tooks refuge in the United States where they remained until 1948. In 1955 Dali returned to Spain and settled in Cadaqués. Salvador Dali was one of the most versatile artists of the twentieth century, a collection of design, jewelry, clothing, perfumes, sculptures, textiles, hats and commercials. He also worked in animation with Walt Disney, a film that has never been completed. He was known for his numerous writings including a surrealist work Babaouo (1932), the conquest of the irrational (1935) and his autobiography La mia vita segreta (1941). Throughout his life, the painter wrote and published a great deal, after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Dali entered what some call his atomic and nuclear period.

In the following years, he was mainly interested in biological, mathematical, nuclear, philosophical, and physical theories. Around the fifties he also began to focus on religious themes. Dali's relationship with Gala was as volatile as his art, they were married in a religious ceremony in Girona in Spain in 1958. In 1968, when they left, Dali gave Gala the castle of Púbol and decided to limit the visits made by now only for written request. When Gala died in 1982 Dali was devastated, without Gala he ended his career too. The Dali museum was opened in Cleveland, Ohio in 1971, but a couple of years later it was replaced by another museum with a greatly expanded version in St. Petersburg, Florida. In 1974 Dali participated in the inauguration of the Museo Theater of Figueres which was designed to house his masterpieces. In 1984 he was involved and wounded in a fire at the castle where he resided, after leaving the hospital he lived as a recluse in the tower adjacent to his Theater Museum. When Dali died on January 23, 1989, he was buried in his museum there.

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