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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He had quietly supported Spanish militant Francisco Franco, but it's unclear whether this was the reason for his expulsion. Officially, Dalí was notified that his expulsion was because he "had repeatedly been guilty of counter-revolutionary activity involving the celebration of fascism under Hitler." It is also very likely that many members of the movement were aghast at some of his public antics. However,
some art historians believe the expulsion was driven more by his feud with the movement's leader Andre Breton. He continued to participate in several international Surrealist exhibitions into the 1940s. At the opening of the London Surrealist exhibition in 1936, he delivered a lecture titled, "Fantomes paranoiaques athentiques" (authentic paranoid ghosts). Dressed in a wetsuit, carrying a billiard cue and walking a pair of Russian wolfhounds, he later said his attire was a way for him to show that he was "plunging into the depths" of the human mind.
During the World War II, Dalí and his wife moved to the United States. They remained there until 1948, when they moved back to his beloved Catalonia. These were important years for Dalí. The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York gave him his own retrospective exhibit in 1941. This was followed by the publication of his autobiography, The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí, in 1942. During the time he spent in the United States, Dalí moved away from Surrealism and into his classical period. The feud with members of the Surrealist movement continued, but Dalí seemed undaunted. His ever-expanding mind had ventured into new subjects.
Over the next 15 years, Dalí painted a series of 19 large canvases, concerning scientific, historical or religious themes. He often called this period "Nuclear Mysticism." During this period, his artwork took on a technical brilliance combining meticulous detail with fantastic and limitless imagination. He would incorporate optical illusions, holography, and geometry within his paintings. Many of his works contained images that depict divine geometry, the DNA, the Hyper Cube, and religious themes of Chastity.
From 1960 to 1974, Salvador Dalí dedicated much of his time to creating the Dalí Teatro Museo (Theater-Museum) in Figueres, Spain. The museum was the former Municipal Theater where Dalí had his public exhibition at the age of 14. The original 19th century structure was destroyed at the end of the Spanish Civil War. Officially opened in 1974 the new structure, formed from the ruins of the old, was based on Dalí's design. The museum is billed as the World's largest Surrealist structure, containing a series of spaces that form a single artistic object where each element is an inextricable part of the whole. The museum houses the broadest range of works by the artist from his earliest artistic experiences to works of the last years of this life. Several works on permanent display were created expressly for the museum.
The same year as the opening of the Dalí Museum in Spain, Salvador dissolved his business relationship with manager Peter Moore.
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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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