Salvador Dali was born on May 11, 1904 in a small town called Figueres in Spain near the Pyrenees Mountains. This town was also near the French border in the principality of Catalonia. Dali was from a rich family and his parents built his first studio for him when he was only a young boy. He spent his summers in Cadaques where his studio was and he lived most of his adult life in an extraordinary villa near Port Lligat.
When Dali was just a young man when he went to the Royal Academy of Fine Art. In 1922, Dali moved to the students’ residence in Madrid and studied Fine Arts at the San Fernando Academy. Dali got a lot of attention because of his eccentric behavior and look. He had long hair and sideburns and wore a coat with stocking and knee breeches. He appreciated beauty especially in poetry and arts. While he was living in the students’ residence, he became close friends with Pepin Bello, Luis Brunel and Federico Garcia. Most of the attention he got from his fellow students was because of his art and especially his painting in which he experimented with Cubism. At that time, Dali probably didn’t understand the Cubist movement. His information about Cubist art came from magazine articles and catalogues given to him. At the time, there were no Cubist artists in Madrid so he was one of the very first. In 1924, when he was still unknown by people, he illustrated a book for the very first time with his schoolmate poet Carles Fages de Climent and called it ‘Les bruixes de Llers (The witches of Llers) and that work influenced his work throughout his life.
Dali was expelled twice and never took his final exams because he believed he was more qualified than his professors. He was also accused of starting unrest at the Academy. His mastery of painting skills was shown in his painting ‘Basket if Bread’ painting in 1926.
He received international fame when three of his paintings were displayed in the third annual Carnegie International Exhibition in Pittsburgh in 1928. Following this, Dali moved to Paris and met famous painters Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro. In Paris, he became one of the principle figures of surreal artists and in 1929; he found his own personal style of painting, which made him famous. It was the ‘world of the unconscious which is recalled during our dreams’. This theory was from the psychologist Sigmund Freud. Images of burning giraffes and melting watching became Dali’s trademark.
Giraffe Avignon ‘75’
In this painting, Dali uses Pastel, watercolor, gouache and stuck-on paper. 43 x 63.5 cm. three old painters ideas are shown here, he shows the burning giraffes, similar groups on both sides of the way and a father showing them to his child.
The Persistence of Memory ‘melting clocks’
This painting show a fetus-like head on the floor, lying down and decaying like something that was washed ashore. The four clocks in the painting appear to be melting like cheese. The only watch that isn’t melting is the one that is on a desk-like object and there are many ants in the centre of the watch.
The most important event in Dali’s life and for his future career was meeting Gala. She was a Russian immigrant and 10 years old than Dali. When he met her, she was already married to a man called Paul Eluard. Gala fell in love with Dali and decided to leave her husband for him. She became his friend, his lover, his muse and his model in several art works as well as his business manager. For Dali, Gala was everything. Gala stabilized his life and she helped him manage his success in the 1930’s by attending exhibitions with him in Europe and the United States. In 1934, after she got divorced from her ex husband, she got married to Dali.
Salvador Dali and Gala
In 1933, Dali organized his first one-man show in New York. Pablo Picasso lent him $500 to go to the USA. World War two started shortly after that and to avoid this, Dali chose to stay in the USA permanently. While he was there, he...
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