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DALI

Salvador Dali (1904-1989)

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"Spanish painter. Born into a middle-class family, he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid, where he mastered academic techniques. Dalí also pursued his personal interest in Cubism andFuturism and was expelled from the academy for indiscipline in 1923. He formed friendships with Lorca and Buñuel, read Freud with enthusiasm and held his first one-man show in Barcelona (1925), where he exhibited a number of seascapes. He wrote the screenplay for Buñuel's Un Chien Andalou (produced in 1928), largely thanks to which he was adopted by the Surrealists. In Paris he met Picasso and Breton, and his involvement from 1929 onwards, his effervescent activity, his flair for getting publicity through scandal and his vivacity which counterbalanced the political difficulties encountered by the group, made him a particularly welcome addition.

"Over the next few years Dalí devoted himself with passionate intensity to developing his method, which he described as 'paranoiac-critical', a 'spontaneous method of irrational knowledge based on the critical and systematic objectivation of delirious associations and interpretations'. It enabled him to demonstrate his personal obsessions and fantasies by uncovering and meticulously fashioning hidden forms within pre-existing ones, either randomly selected (postcards, beach scenes, photographic enlargements) or of an accepted artistic canon (canvases by Millet, for example). It was at this period that he was producing works like The Lugubrious Game (1929), The Persistence of Memory (1931) andSurrealist Objects, Gauges of Instantaneous Memory (1932). Flaccid shapes, anamorphoses and double-sided figures producing a trompe-l'œil effect combine in these works to create an extraordinary universe where the erotic and the scatological jostle with a fascination for decay - a universe that is reflected in his other works of this period, including his symbolic objects and poems (La Femme visible, 1930; L'Amour et la mémoire, 1931) as well as the screenplay for L'Age d'Or (1930).

It soon became apparent, however, that there was an inherent contradiction in Dalí's approach between what he himself described as 'critical paranoia' - which lent itself to systematic interpretation - and the element of automatism upon which his method depended. Breton soon had misgivings about Dalí's monsters which only lend themselves to a limited, univocal reading. Dalí's extreme statements on political matters, in particular his fascination for Hitler, struck a false note in the context of the Surrealist ethic and his relations with the rest of the group became increasingly strained after 1934. The break finally came when the painter declared his support for Franco in 1939. And yet he could boast that he had the backing of Freud himself, who declared in 1938 that Dalí was the only interesting case in a movement whose aims he confessed not to understand. Moreover, in the eyes of the public he was, increasingly as time went by, the Surrealist par excellence, and he did his utmost to maintain, by way of excessive exhibitionism in every area, this enviable reputation.

In 1936, Dalí returned to a classical manner of painting, switching haphazardly between Italian, Spanish and pompier styles. From 1939 to 1948, he lived in the United States, cultivating his persona as a genial eccentric, and earning from Breton the nickname Avida Dollars (an anagram of his name) in 1940. In Spain once more (at Port Lligat), he provided a constant source of interest for the gossip columns, which described the parties he threw, his carefully orchestrated 'eccentricity' and all the pomp and ceremony of his church wedding in 1958 to Gala (Éluard's first wife), whom he had first met in 1929 and who was to remain the only woman in his life, his muse, his model and his most effective agent. If he declared that Meissonier was a better painter than Picasso, that Perpignan railway station was the centre of the world, or that Francoism had saved Spain, these were precisely the sort of statements that people expected of him. His painting, in the meantime, while technically brilliant, was based on ideas that were not perhaps as bold and new as they seemed (Christ of Saint John of the Cross, 1951, for example, or the Crucifixion of 1954) - more a series of confidence tricks designed to convince the public that Dalí was borrowing from nuclear physics or 'inventing' the anaglyph relief. In 1965, he turned his hand to sculpture, contenting himself with repeating themes from his paintings: a Venus equipped with cupboard drawers, elephants with spiders' legs, soft watches, etc., worked in bronze or crystal. The purpose of the post-war lithographs was principally financial: their uncontrolled print runs and more or less authentic signatures brought discredit on the artistic mass market of the 1960s. Such 'scandals', however, like the denunciation of fake Dalís in the 1970s, served to keep a myth alive - a myth that has proved remarkably durable if the success of both the Dalí museum at Figueras, which the painter himself set up in 1974, and the major exhibitions periodically held in celebration of his 'genius' is anything to go by."

Text from "ART20, The Thames and Hudson Multimedia Dictionary of Modern Art"

“Salvador_Dali_WEANING_FURNITURE"

DALI, Salvador The Weaning of Furniture-Nutrition 1934 Oil on panel 7 x 9 1/2 in Salvador Dali Museum, St Petersburg, Florida ©1999 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VEGAP, Madrid

“Salvador_Dali_TOREADOR"

DALI, Salvador Hallucinogenous Bullfighter 1969-1970 Oil on canvas 400 x 300 cm The Salvador Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida ©1999 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VEGAP, Madrid

“Salvador_Dali_TABLE"

DALI, Salvador Living Still Life 1956 Oil on canvas 125 x 160 cm The Salvador Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida

“Salvador_Dali_SPAIN"

DALI, Salvador Spain 1936-1938 Oil on canvas 91.8 x 60.2 cm Boymans-van Breuningen Museum, Rotterdam

“Salvador_Dali_SEASHADE"

DALI, Salvador Dali at the Age of Six, when he Thought he was a Girl, Lifting the Skin of the Water to see a Dog Sleeping in the Shade of the Sea 1950 Oil on canvas 80 x 99 cm Comte Francois de Vallombreuse Collection, Paris

“Salvador_Dali_RAPHAEL"

DALI, Salvador Raphaelesque Head Bursting 1951 Oil on canvas 44.5 x 35 cm Stead H. Stead Ellis Collection, Somerset

“Salvador_Dali_PERSISTENCE"

DALI, Salvador The Persistence of Memory 1931 Oil on canvas 9 1/2 x 13 in (24.1 x 33 cm) The Museum of Modern Art, New York

“Salvador_Dali_NARCISS"

DALI, Salvador Metamorphosis of Narcissus 1937 Oil on canvas 50.8 x 78.2 cm Tate Gallery, London

“Salvador_Dali_MASOCHST"

DALI, Salvador Masochistic Instrument 1933-1934 Oil on canvas 62 x 47 cm Private collection ©1999 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VEGAP, Madrid

“Salvador_Dali_LEDA"

DALI, Salvador Leda atomica 1949 Oil on canvas 61.1 x 45.3 cm Teatro-Museo Dali, Figueras

“Salvador_Dali_ILLUMINED_PLEASURES"

DALI, Salvador Illumined Pleasures 1929 Oil and collage on composition board 9 3/8 x 13 3/4 in. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

“Salvador_Dali_HARP"

DALI, Salvador Meditation on the Harp 1932-1934 Oil on canvas 67 x 47 cm Salvador Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida

“Salvador_Dali_GUADLUPE"

DALI, Salvador Virgin of Guadalupe 1959 Oil on canvas 130 x 98.5 cm Alfonso Fierro Collection, Madrid

“Salvador_Dali_GIRAFFE"

DALI, Salvador Lighted Giraffes 1936-1937 Oil on wooden panel 35 x 27 cm Kunstmuseum, Basel

“Salvador_Dali_FEIGNED"

DALI, Salvador The Transparent Simulacrum of the Feigned Image 1938 Oil on canvas 28 1/2 x 36 1/4 in. (72.5 x 92 cm) Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY

“Salvador_Dali_ELUARD"

DALI, Salvador Portrait of Paul Eluard 1929 Oil on cardboard 33 x 25 cm Private collection

“Salvador_Dali_DALI_VOLTAIRE"

Dali, Salvador Slave Market with the Disappearing Bust of Voltaire 1940 Oil on canvas 18 1/4 x 25 3/4 in Salvador Dali Museum, St Petersburg, Florida

“Salvador_Dali_DALI_GREAT_MASTURBATOR"

Dali, Salvador The Great Masturbator 1929 Oil on canvas 110 x 150 cm Gift of Dali to the Spanish government

“Salvador_Dali_DALI_ECSTASY"

Dali, Salvador The Phenomenon of Ecstasy 1933 Photo collage

“Salvador_Dali_DALI_COMBAT"

Dali, Salvador Combat 1955 Ink with wash 6 3/8 x 9 1/4 in. Salvador Dali Museum, St Petersburg, Florida

“Salvador_Dali_CRUCIFIX"

DALI, Salvador Crucifixion ('Hypercubic Body') 1954 Oil on canvas 194.5 x 124 cm Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

“Salvador_Dali_CHASTITY"

DALI, Salvador Young Virgin Autosodomized by Her Own Chastity 1954 Oil on canvas 40.5 x 30.5 cm Playboy Collection, Los Angeles

“Salvador_Dali_CANNIBAL"

DALI, Salvador Cannibalism in Autumn 1936-1937 Oil on canvas 65 x 65.2 cm Tate Gallery, London

“Salvador_Dali_BOILED_BEANS"

DALI, Salvador Soft Construction with Boiled Beans: Premonition of Civil War 1936 Oil on canvas 39 3/8 x 39 in. Philadelphia Museum of Art

“Salvador_Dali_APPNDAGE"

DALI, Salvador Half a Giant Cup Suspended with an Inexplicable Appendage Five Meters Long 1944-1945 Oil on canvas 50 x 31 cm Private collection, Basel

dali_Moth_and_Flame

Dali

Salvador Dalí. Moth and Flame. Candelstick. 1965. The Pushkin Museum of Fine Art, Moscow, Russia.

dali_Disappearing_Image/L'image_disparaît

Dali

Salvador Dalí. Disappearing Image/L'image disparaît. 1938. Oil on canvas. 56.3 x 50.5 cm. Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation, Figueras, Spain.

dali_Figure_on_the_Rocks

Dali

Salvador Dalí. Figure on the Rocks. 1926. Oil on panel. 27.5 x 45 cm. Salvador Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, FL, USA.

dali_Gradiva_Finds_the_Anthropomorphic_Ruins

Dali

Salvador Dalí. Gradiva Finds the Anthropomorphic Ruins. 1931. Oil on canvas. 65 x 54 cm. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Madrid, Spain.

dali_Hallucination_partielle:_six_appatitions_de_Lénine_sur_un_piano/Partial_Hallucination:_Six_Apparitions_of_Lenin_on_a_Piano

Dali

Salvador Dalí. Hallucination partielle: six appatitions de Lénine sur un piano/Partial Hallucination: Six Apparitions of Lenin on a Piano. 1931. Oil on canvas. 114 x 146 cm. Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France

dali_The_Enigma_of_William_Tell

Dali

Salvador Dalí. The Enigma of William Tell. 1933. Oil on canvas. 201.5 x 346 cm. Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden.

dali_The_Phantom_Cart

Dali

Salvador Dalí. The Phantom Cart. 1933. Oil on canvas. 16 x 20.3. Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT, USA.

dali_Mae_West's_Lips_Sofa

Dali

Salvador Dalí. Mae West's Lips Sofa. 1936-7. Wooden frame covered with pink satin. 86.5 x 183 x 81.5 cm. Private collection.

dali_Lobster_Telephone

Dali

Salvador Dalí. Lobster Telephone. 1938. Painted metal, plaster, rubber and paper. 19-31-16 cm. Tate Gallery, London, UK.