“Drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility of cheating. It is either good or bad”.
Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dalí was born on May 11th, 1904 in Figueras, in the north of Catalonia. This place had a privileged place in his work as in his life. At an early age, he expressed an attraction for art and painting, and therefore Dalí attended drawing school. In 1916, he also discovered modern painting on a summer vacation trip to Cadaqués. His parents had lost their first boy also named Salvador. Dalí was taken to his brother’s grave and told by his parents that he was his brother’s reincarnation.
“At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since”.
Dalí is admitted at the San Fernando Institute, the Art Schools of Madrid while in Paris, Dadaism is in its apogee. He improved his knowledge of sculpture, drawing and painting. Because of an incident with his professors and other students, Dalí is excluded from this school. He met Lorca and Buñuel at this time.
During his first trip in Paris in 1926, he met Pablo Picasso whom the young Dalí revered. In Paris, Dalí met Andre Breton, Eluard, Magritte and Ernst. He officially joined the surrealist group. In 1929, Dalí collaborated with surrealist film director Luis Buñuel on the short film Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog). His main contribution was to help Buñuel write the script for the film. Dalí later claimed to have also played a significant role in the filming of the project, but this is not substantiated by contemporary accounts. Also, in August 1929, Dalí met his lifelong and primary muse, inspiration, and future wife Gala, born Elena Ivanovna Diakonova. She was a Russian immigrant, ten years his senior, who at that time was married to surrealist poet Paul Éluard. The couple visited Dali in Cadaques house during the summer 1929. Dalí exposed in Paris for the first time with a collection of 11 paintings.
During the World War II, Dalí and Gala settled in the USA from 1940 to 1948. The Modern Art Museum of New York offered Dalí his first retrospective exhibition in 1941. In 1942, Dalí published his autobiography, “Secret life”.
Dalí became increasingly more prolific: he writes and illustrates famous books, creates and designs sets and costumes for operas, films, works out new theories, carves, draws, creates jewels and furniture…His genius seems to have no limit. His research on space and on the third dimension leads him to the study of holography.
In 1974, Dalí inaugurated the Teatro Museo Dalí in Figueras (Spain). This event was followed by retrospectives in Paris and London until the end of the 70’s. After the death of his wife Gala in 1982, Dalí lost much of his will to live. Dalí withdrew himself first in Pubol and later in his apartment close to the ‘Teatro Museo’. He died on January 23rd, 1989.