2008/9 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Artists
|Salvador Dalí, Marquis de Púbol|
Photo by Carl Van Vechten taken 29 November 1939
|Birth name||Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech|
|Born|| May 11, 1904
Figueres, Catalonia, Spain
|Died|| January 23, 1989 (aged 84)
Figueres, Catalonia, Spain
|Field||Painting, Drawing, Photography, Sculpture, Writing|
|Training||San Fernando School of Fine Arts, Madrid|
|Movement||Cubism, Dada, Surrealism|
|Works|| The Persistence of Memory (1931)
Face of Mae West Which May Be Used as an Apartment, (1935)
Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War) (1936)
Swans Reflecting Elephants (1937)
Ballerina in a Death's Head (1939)
The Temptation of St. Anthony (1946)
Galatea of the Spheres (1952)
Young Virgin Auto-Sodomized by the Horns of Her Own Chastity (1954)
Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, 1st Marquis of Púbol ( May 11, 1904 – January 23, 1989), was a Spanish Catalan surrealist painter born in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain. Dalí was a skilled draftsman, best known for the striking and bizarre images in his surrealist work. His painterly skills are often attributed to the influence of Renaissance masters. His best known work, The Persistence of Memory, was completed in 1931. Salvador Dalí's artistic repertoire also included film, sculpture, and photography. He collaborated with Walt Disney on the unfinished Academy Award-nominated short cartoon Destino, which was completed and released posthumously in 2003. He also collaborated with Alfred Hitchcock on the dream sequence from his 1945 film Spellbound.
Dalí insisted on his "Arab lineage", claiming that his ancestors were descended from the Moors who occupied Southern Spain for nearly 800 years (711-1492), and attributed to these origins, "my love of everything that is gilded and excessive, my passion for luxury and my love of oriental clothes."
Widely considered to be greatly imaginative, Dalí had an affinity for doing unusual things to draw attention to himself. This sometimes irked those who loved his art as much as it annoyed his critics, since his eccentric manner sometimes drew more public attention than his artwork. The purposefully-sought notoriety led to broad public recognition and many purchases of his works by people from all walks of life.
Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, was born on May 11, 1904, at 8:47 am GMT in the town of Figueres, in the Empordà region close to the French border in Catalonia, Spain. Dalí's older brother, also named Salvador (b. October 12, 1901), had died of gastroenteritis, nine months earlier, on August 1, 1903. His father, Salvador Dalí i Cusí, was a middle-class lawyer and notary whose strict disciplinarian approach was tempered by his wife, Felipa Domenech Ferrés, who encouraged her son's artistic endeavors. When he was five, Dalí was taken to his brother's grave and told by his parents that he was his brother's reincarnation, which he came to believe. Of his brother, Dalí said: "… [we] resembled each other like two drops of water, but we had different reflections." He "was probably a first version of myself but conceived too much in the absolute."
Dalí also had a sister, Ana María, who was three years younger. In 1949 she published a book about her brother, Dalí As Seen By His Sister. His childhood friends included future FC Barcelona footballers, Sagibarbá and Josep Samitier. During holidays at the Catalan resort of Cadaqués, the trio played football together.
Dalí attended drawing school. In 1916 Dalí also discovered modern painting on a summer vacation to Cadaqués with the family of Ramon Pichot, a local artist who made regular trips to Paris. The next year, Dalí's father organized an exhibition of his charcoal drawings in their family home. He had his first public exhibition at the Municipal Theatre in Figueres in 1919.
In February 1921, Dalí's mother died of breast cancer. Dalí was sixteen years old; he later said his mother's death "was the greatest blow I had experienced in my life. I worshipped her … I could not resign myself to the loss of a being on whom I counted to make invisible the unavoidable blemishes of my soul." After her death, Dalí's father married his deceased wife's sister. Dalí did not resent this marriage as some do think, because he had a great love and respect toward his aunt.
Madrid and Paris
In 1922, Dalí moved into the Residencia de Estudiantes (Students' Residence) in Madrid and there studied at the Academia de San Fernando (School of Fine Arts). A lean 1.72 m tall dandy, Dalí already drew attention as an eccentric, wearing long hair and sideburns, coat, stockings and knee breeches in the fashion style of the English aesthetes of the late 19th century. But his paintings, where he experimented with Cubism, earned him the most attention from his fellow students. In these earliest Cubist works, he probably did not completely understand the movement, since his only information on Cubist art came from a few magazine articles and a catalog given to him by Pichot, and there were no Cubist artists in Madrid at the time.
In 1924 the still unknown Salvador Dalí illustrated for the first time a book. It was the Catalan poem "Les bruixes de Llers" ("The Witches of Llers") by his friend and schoolmate, the poet Carles Fages de Climent.
Dalí also experimented with Dada, which influenced his work throughout his life. At the Residencia, he became close friends with, among others, Pepín Bello, Luis Buñuel, and the poet Federico García Lorca. The friendship with Lorca had a strong element of mutual passion, but Dalí fearfully rejected the erotic advances of the poet.
Dalí was expelled from the Academia in 1926 shortly before his final exams when he stated that no one on the faculty was competent enough to examine him. His mastery of painting skills is well documented by that time in his flawlessly realistic Basket of Bread, which was painted in 1926. That same year he made his first visit to Paris where he met with Pablo Picasso, whom young Dalí revered. Picasso had already heard favorable things about Dalí from Joan Miró. Dalí did a number of works heavily influenced by Picasso and Miró over the next few years as he developed his own style.
Some trends in Dalí's work that would continue throughout his life were already evident in the 1920s. Dalí devoured influences from many styles of art and then produced works ranging from the most academically classic, evidencing a familiarity with Raphael, Bronzino, Francisco de Zurbaran, Vermeer, and Velázquez, to the most cutting-edge avant-garde, sometimes in separate works and sometimes combined. Exhibitions of his works in Barcelona attracted much attention and mixtures of praise and puzzled debate from critics.
Dalí grew a flamboyant moustache, which became iconic of him; it was influenced by that of seventeenth century Spanish master painter Diego Velázquez.
1929 through World War II
In 1929, Dalí collaborated with the surrealistic film director Luis Buñuel on the short film Un chien andalou (An Andalusian Dog). He was mainly responsible for helping Buñuel write the script for the film. Dalí later claimed to have been more heavily involved in the filming of the project, but this is not substantiated by contemporary accounts. Also that year he met his muse, inspiration, and future wife Gala, born Elena Ivanovna Diakonova, a Russian immigrant eleven years his senior who was then married to the surrealist poet Paul Éluard. In the same year, Dalí had important professional exhibitions and officially joined the surrealist group in the Montparnasse quarter of Paris (although his work had already been heavily influenced by surrealism for two years). The surrealists hailed what Dalí called the Paranoiac-critical method of accessing the subconscious for greater artistic creativity.
In 1931, Dalí painted one of his most famous works, The Persistence of Memory. Sometimes called Soft Watches or Melting Clocks, the work introduced the surrealistic image of the soft, melting pocket watch. The general interpretation of the work is that the soft watches debunk the assumption that time is rigid or deterministic, and this sense is supported by other images in the work, such as the wide expanding landscape and the ants and fly devouring the other watches.
Dalí and Gala, having lived together since 1929, were married in 1934 in a civil ceremony (They remarried in a Catholic ceremony in 1958).
Dalí was introduced to America by art dealer Julian Levy in 1934, and the exhibition of Dalí works (including Persistence) in New York created an immediate sensation. Social Register listees feted him at a specially organized "Dalí Ball". He showed up wearing on his chest a glass case containing a brassiere. In 1936, Dalí took part in the London International Surrealist Exhibition. His lecture entitled Fantomes paranoiaques authentiques was delivered wearing a deep-sea diving suit. He had arrived carrying a billiard cue and leading a pair of Russian wolfhounds, and had to have the helmet unscrewed as he gasped for breath. He commented that "I just wanted to show that I was 'plunging deeply' into the human mind."
According to Luis Buñuel, Dalí and Gala went to a masquerade party in Chicago dressed as the Lindbergh baby and the kidnapper. The uproar in the press was so great that Dalí apologized; when he returned to Paris, the Surrealists put him on trial for apologizing for a surrealist act.
André Breton accused Dalí of defending the "new" and "irrational" in the "the Hitler phenomenon", but the artist quickly rejected this claim saying, "I am Hitlerian neither in fact nor intention." However, when Francisco Franco came to power in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, Dalí's support of the new regime, among other things, eventually resulted in his purported expulsion from the surrealist group. At this, Dalí retorted, "I myself am surrealism." André Breton coined the anagram "avida dollars" (for Salvador Dalí), which more or less translates to "eager for dollars," by which he referred to Dalí after the period of his expulsion. The surrealists henceforth spoke of Dalí in the past tense, as if he was dead. At this stage his main patron was the very wealthy Edward James. The surrealist movement and various members thereof (such as Ted Joans) would continue to issue extremely harsh polemics against Dalí until the time of his death and beyond.
Edward James helped the young Salvador Dalí emerge into the art world by purchasing many works and supporting him financially for two years. They became good friends and James features in Dalí's painting ‘Swans Reflecting Elephants.’ They also collaborated on two of the most enduring icons of the Surrealist movement: the Lobster Telephone and the Mae West Lips Sofa.
"During this period Dalí never stopped writing", wrote Robert and Nicolas Descharnes. In 1941, he drafted a film scenario for Jean Gabin called Moontide. He wrote catalogs for his exhibitions like that at the Knoedler Gallery [in New York City in 1943] where he expounded, 'Surrealism will at least have served to give experimental proof that total sterility and attempts at automatizations have gone too far and have led to a totalitarian system. ... Today's laziness and the total lack of technique have reached their paroxysm in the psychological signification of the current use of the college.' He also wrote a novel (published in 1944) about a fashion salon for automobiles. This got a drawing by Edwin Cox in The Miami Herald showing him dressing an automobile in an evening gown."
In 1940, as World War II started in Europe, Dalí and Gala moved to the United States, where they lived for eight years. After the move, Dalí returned to the practice of Catholicism. In 1942, he published his autobiography, The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí. An Italian friar, Gabriele Maria Berardi, claimed to have performed an exorcism on Dalí while he was in France in 1947. The friar's estate contained a sculpture of Christ on the cross which Dalí had given his exorcist to thank him. The sculpture was discovered in 2005 and two Spanish experts in Surrealism confirmed that there were adequate stylistic reasons to believe the sculpture was made by Dalí.
Later years in Catalonia
Starting in 1949, Dalí spent his remaining years back in his beloved Catalonia. The fact that he chose to live in Spain while it was ruled by Franco drew criticism from progressives and many other artists. As such, it is probable that at least some of the common dismissal of Dalí's later works had more to do with politics than the actual merits of the works themselves. In 1959, André Breton organized an exhibit called, Homage to Surrealism, celebrating the Fortieth Anniversary of Surrealism, which contained works by Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, Enrique Tábara, and Eugenio Granell. Breton vehemently fought against the inclusion of Dalí's Sistine Madonna in the International Surrealism Exhibition in New York the following year.
Late in his career, Dalí did not confine himself to painting but experimented with many unusual or novel media and processes: he made bulletist works and was among the first artists to employ holography in an artistic manner. Several of his works incorporate optical illusions. In his later years, young artists like Andy Warhol proclaimed Dalí an important influence on pop art. Dalí also had a keen interest in natural science and mathematics. This is manifested in several of his paintings, notably in the 1950s when he painted his subjects as composed of rhinoceros horns, signifying divine geometry (as the rhinoceros horn grows according to a logarithmic spiral) and chastity (as Dalí linked the rhinoceros to the Virgin Mary). Dalí was also fascinated by DNA and the hypercube - a 4-dimensional cube - and an unfolding of a hypercube is featured in the painting Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus).
Dalí's post-World War II period bore the hallmarks of technical virtuosity and an interest in optical illusions, science and religion. Increasingly Catholic, and inspired by the shock of Hiroshima, he labeled this period "Nuclear Mysticism". In paintings such as The Madonna of Port-Lligat (first version) of 1949 and Corpus Hypercubus, 1954, Dalí sought to synthesize Christian iconography with images of material disintegration inspired by nuclear physics. "Nuclear Mysticism" included such notable pieces as La Gare de Perpignan, 1965, and Hallucinogenic Toreador, 1968–1970. In 1960, Dalí began work on the Dalí Theatre and Museum in his home town of Figueres; it was his largest single project and the main focus of his energy through 1974. He continued to make additions through the mid-1980s.
In 1968, Dalí filmed a television advertisement for Lanvin chocolates and in 1969 designed the Chupa Chups logo. Also in 1969, he was responsible for creating the advertising aspect of the 1969 Eurovision Song Contest, and created a large metal sculpture, which stood on the stage at the Teatro Real in Madrid.
In the television programme Dirty Dalì: A Private View broadcast on Channel 4 on June 3, 2007, the art critic Brian Sewell described his acquaintance with Dalí in the late 1960s, which included lying down in the fetal position without trousers in the armpit of a figure of Christ and masturbating for Dalí who pretended to take photos while fumbling in his own trousers.
In 1980, Dalí's health took a catastrophic turn. His near- senile wife Gala was dosing him with a dangerous cocktail of non-prescribed medicine that damaged his nervous system, thus causing an untimely end to his artistic ability. At 76 years old, the 'ever-healthy' Dalí was a complete wreck, his right hand trembling terribly, Parkinson-like.
In 1982, King Juan Carlos of Spain bestowed on Dalí the title Marquis of Pubol, for which Dalí later paid him by giving him a drawing (Head of Europa, which would turn out to be Dalí's final drawing) after the king visited him on his deathbed.
Gala died on June 10, 1982. After Gala's death, Dalí lost much of his will to live. He deliberately dehydrated himself—possibly as a suicide attempt, possibly in an attempt to put himself into a state of suspended animation, as he had read that some microorganisms could do. He moved from Figueres to the castle in Púbol which he had bought for Gala and was the site of her death. In 1984, a fire broke out in his bedroom under unclear circumstances—possibly a suicide attempt by Dalí, possibly simple negligence by his staff. In any case, Dalí was rescued and returned to Figueres where a group of his friends, patrons, and fellow artists saw to it that he was comfortable living in his Theatre-Museum for his final years.
There have been allegations that his guardians forced Dalí to sign blank canvasses that would later (even after his death) be used and sold as originals. As a result, art dealers tend to be wary of late works attributed to Dalí.
In November 1988 Dalí entered the hospital with heart failure and on December 5, 1988 was visited by King Juan Carlos who confessed that he had always been a serious devotee of Dalí.
On January 23, 1989 while his favorite record of Tristan and Isolde played, he died of heart failure at Figueres, at the age of 84, and, coming full circle, is buried in the crypt of his Teatro Museo in Figueres, across the street from the church of Sant Pere where he had his funeral, first communion, and baptism, and three blocks from the house where he was born.
The Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation currently serves as his official Estate.. The U.S. copyright representative for the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation is the Artists Rights Society. In 2002, the Artists Rights Society made the news when they asked Google to remove customised version of its logo put up to commemorate Dalí, alleging that portions of specific artworks under their protection had been used in the logos, and that they were used without permission. Google complied with the request, but denied that there was any violation of copyright.
Dalí employed extensive symbolism in his work. For instance, the hallmark soft watches that first appear in The Persistence of Memory suggest Einstein's theory that time is relative and not fixed. The idea for clocks functioning symbolically in this way came to Dalí when he was staring at a runny piece of Camembert cheese during a hot day in August.
The elephant is also a recurring image in Dalí's works. It first appeared in his 1944 work Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening. The elephants, inspired by Gian Lorenzo Bernini's sculpture base in Rome of an elephant carrying an ancient obelisk, are portrayed "with long, multi-jointed, almost invisible legs of desire" along with obelisks on their backs. Coupled with the image of their brittle legs, these encumbrances, noted for their phallic overtones, create a sense of phantom reality. "The elephant is a distortion in space", one analysis explains, "its spindly legs contrasting the idea of weightlessness with structure." … I am painting pictures which make me die for joy, I am creating with an absolute naturalness, without the slightest aesthetic concern, I am making things that inspire me with a profound emotion and I am trying to paint them honestly. —Salvador Dalí, in Dawn Ades, Dalí and Surrealism.
The egg is another common Dalíesque image. He connects the egg to the prenatal and intrauterine, thus using it to symbolize hope and love; it appears in The Great Masturbator and The Metamorphosis of Narcissus. Various animals appear throughout his work as well: ants point to death, decay, and immense sexual desire; the snail is connected to the human head (he saw a snail on a bicycle outside Freud's house when he first met Sigmund Freud); and locusts are a symbol of waste and fear.