Best Known For
Salvador Dali is best known for his long surrealist painting career.
Salvador Dali - Meeting Gala (3:36)
While in Paris, Salvador Dali took part in the surreal movement of the time and met Gala, the woman who inspired his surreal paintings.
Salvador Dali was given the same name as his brother after his brother's death, leading to Dali having identity crisis issues that followed him for years after childhood.
In the 1960s, Salvador Dali was seen as an artistic icon and lived the life to back it up. Although he made millions for his sought after paintings, Dali spent millions to maintain his extravagant lifestyle.
The bizarre and private life of Salvador Dali and his wife Gala Dali inspired the artwork in several of his paintings.
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Dalí would use the method to create a reality from his dreams and subconscious thoughts, thus mentally changing reality to what he wanted it to be and not necessarily what it was. For Dalí, it became a way of life.
In 1929, Salvador Dalí expanded his artistic exploration into the world of film-making when he collaborated with Luis Buñuel on two films, Un Chien andalou (An Andalusian Dog), and in 1930, L'Age d'or (The Golden Age),
which is well remembered for its opening scene of the simulated slashing of a human eye with a razor. Dalí's art appeared several years later in another film, the 1945 Alfred Hitchcock movie Spellbound, starring Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman. Dalí's paintings were used in a dream sequence, and aided the plot by giving clues to solving the secret to character John Ballantine's psychological problems.
In August, 1929, Dalí met Elena Dmitrievna Diakonova (sometimes written as Elena Ivanorna Diakonova), a Russian immigrant, 10 years his senior. At the time, she was the wife of surrealist writer Paul Eluard. A strong mental and physical attraction developed between Dalí and Diakonova, and she soon left Eluard to spend her life with Dalí. Also known as Gala, she became Dalí's muse, inspiration, and eventually his wife. She helped balance, or one might say counterbalance, the creative forces in Dalí's life. With his wild expressions and fantasies, he was not capable of dealing with the business side of being an artist. Gala took care of his legal and financial matters, and negotiated contracts with dealers and exhibition promoters. They were married in a civil ceremony in 1934.
By 1930, Salvador Dalí had become a notorious figure in the Surrealist movement. Viscount and Viscountess Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles became his first patrons. French aristocrats, both husband and wife invested heavily in avant-garde art in the early 20th century. One of Dalí's most famous paintings produced at this time—and perhaps the best-known Surrealist work—was The Persistence of Memory (1931). The painting, sometimes called Soft Watches, shows melting pocket watches in a landscape setting. It is said that the painting conveys several ideas within the image, chiefly that time is not rigid and everything is destructible.
By the mid-1930s, Salvador Dalí had become as notorious for his colorful personality as for his artwork and, for some art critics, the former was overshadowing the latter. Often sporting an exaggeratedly long mustache,cape, and walking stick, Dalí's public appearances exhibited some unusual behavior. In 1934, art dealer Julian Levy introduced Dalí to America in a New York exhibition that caused quite a lot of controversy. At a ball held in his honor Dalí, in characteristic flamboyant style, appeared wearing a glass case across his chest which contained a brassiere.
As war approached in Europe, specifically in Spain, Salvador clashed with members of the Surrealist movement. In a "trial" held in 1934, he was expelled from the group.
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From the surrealist melting watches of Salvador Dalí to the edgy graffiti-inspired canvases of Jean-Michel Basquiat, famous Hispanic artists have used their rich imaginations to capture the world’s collective eye. Legendary painters such as cubist Pablo Picasso, self-portrait master and feminist icon Frida Kahlo and revolutionary muralist Diego Rivera, made strong political and personal statements with their work that both defied definition and created new ones. Learn more about these renowned Hispanic painters, sculptors and illustrators, from their early days, to their struggle for acceptance in the art world, to their arrival at legendary status and more. See all the artists.
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