Born on May 11, 1904, Salvador Dali i Domenech would become
one of the world’s most recognized surrealist artists. Raised
by his lawyer/notary father and a mother who encouraged her
artistic son, Dali grew up in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain,
having been told by his parents that he was the reincarnation
of his older brother, Salvador, who died just nine months
before Dali’s birth.
the death of his mother to breast cancer in 1921, Dali moved
to the student residences at the School of Fine Arts in Madrid.
He spent several years studying there and then shortly before
his graduation, he was expelled for declaring that no one
on the faculty of the school was competent enough to examine
1931, Dali had collaborated on a short film with surrealist
director Luis Bunuel; illustrated a book called “The Witches
of Liers”, a poem written by his friend and classmate Carles
Fages de Climent; met his muse and future wife Gala; and painted
arguably his most famous work The Persistence of Memory. He
had officially joined the surrealist group in Paris, and was
hailed by the surrealist community of artists.
Salvador Dali openly supported the regime of Francisco Franco
following the Spanish Civil war, and showed interest in what
he referred to as the “Hitler phenomenon”, he became somewhat
of an outcast among his fellow artists. Many of his fellow
surrealists referred to Dali in past tense, indicating their
feeling that he was dead to them. He wrote prolifically during
this time, and continued producing his art.
1940, Dali and Gala moved to the United States, and it was
during this time that Dali reclaimed his Catholic faith. In
1942, Dali wrote his autobiography, “The Secret Life of Salvador
Dali”. He asked an Italian monk to perform an exorcism on
him in the late 1940’s, and in exchange for the exorcism,
he presented the friar with a sculpture of Jesus Christ on
the cross, which was not discovered until 2005. Although they
had been married civilly in 1934, Dali and Gala were married
in the Catholic Church in 1958.
the late 1940’s, Dali and Gala returned to Spain. Dali continued
a prolific career in art, being one of the first artists to
use holography and taking great inspiration from his Catholic
faith and the events of the day, including the bombing at
Hiroshima. From this time period, two of Dali’s most famous
works, Hallucinogenic Toreador and La Gare de Perpignan were
work was used in advertising campaigns, most notably for Chupa
Chups candy and Lanvin chocolates, and he became fascinated
by DNA and the hypercube, which can be seen in some of his
Juan Carlos of Spain bestowed upon Dali the title Marquis
of Pubol in 1982. By this time, Dali was seriously ill, having
been given unprescribed medicine by his senile wife Gala.
The medications damaged Dali’s nervous system and gave him
Parkinson’s like tremors in his hands.
died in 1982, leaving the stricken Dali devastated. He was
brought back to Figueres in 1984 by friends who felt a deliberate
dehydration of the artist and a fire in his bedroom were suicide
January 23, 1989, Salvador Dali, known for his contributions
not only to surrealism, but also to fashion, theatre, and
photography, died from heart failure. He is buried in a crypt
at his Teatro Museo de Figueres, just steps from his childhood