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Sunday, 31 August 2014

Salvador Dalí

Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech was born on May 11, 1904 in the town of Figueres close to the French border in Catalonia, Spain.

His father, Salvador Dalí i Cusí, was a middle-class lawyer and notary. His mother, Felipa Domenech Ferrés, tempered her husband's strict disciplinary approach and encouraged her son's artistic endeavors.

Dali was born exactly nine months after the death of his older brother — also called Salvador.

Salvador Dalí, 29 November 1939

Dalí was terrified of grasshoppers. As a schoolboy, he threw such violent fits of hysteria that his teacher forbade them to be mentioned in class.

Salvador Dali did nine months of military service and was assigned the role of toilet cleaner. He pretended to have nervous fits to avoid night duty.

In the 1920s, Salvador Dalí read Freud, took up with other emerging Surrealists, and began actively seeking his subconscious mind so as to paint the visions there.

Dali produced what is perhaps his best-known work, The Persistence Of Memory, when he was just 27. Its melting clocks were believed to have been inspired by Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, but Dali said they were based on a wheel of Camembert cheese that had melted in the sun.

It is said that Dalí himself adopted his signature curled mustache from classical painter, Diego Velázquez.

Portrait of Salvador Dali, taken in Hôtel Meurice, Paris Photo by Allan Warren
At the height of the Spanish Civil War, Dali worked in Hollywood with Harpo Marx on a film for the Marx Brothers called Giraffes On Horseback Salad — one scene required Harpo to use a butterfly net to collect the 18 smallest dwarfs in the city. The film was never made.

Salvador Dalí had a pet ocelot named Babou.

Salvador Dalí once arrived at an art exhibition in a limo filled with turnips.

Dalí once delivered a lecture wearing a full deep-sea diving suit.

Dalí in the 1960s sphotographed holding his pet ocelot

Dalí produced over 1,500 paintings in his career.

His most famous work was The Persistence of Memory (1931), which is now in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It is a dream-like landscape with a soft, melted pocket-watch.

The Persistence of Memory. By Image taken from, Fair use, $3

Dali's most expensive painting sold is the $22.4 million Portrait de Paul Eluard, featuring his friend and Surrealist poet Paul Eluard. It is the most expensive Surrealist work of art in the world.

Salvador Dalí died of heart failure at Figueres at the age of 84 on January 23, 1989, while his favorite record of Tristan and Isolde played.

He is buried in the crypt below the stage of his Theatre and Museum in Figueres.

When Salvador Dali was exhumed in 2017 to determine whether a fortune teller is his biological daughter, his mustache was still perfectly intact.

The Dalí Theatre and Museum is a museum containing the works of Salvador Dalí in his home town of Figueres. The heart of the museum is the building that featured his first exhibition at the age of 14.


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