Salvidor Dali

Salvador Dali's lack of madness, huge ego and wonderful wife (oops I meant life) and the lips that ate Ozzy Osborne.

The Persistance of Time.

Just The Facts

  1. Spanish 1904 to 1989 Surrealist.
  2. Painted around 15000 paintings.
  3. Was the face of Lanvin chocolates in the 60's and also designed the "Chupa Chup" lollipop logo we all recognise today.
  4. Recognised by his classical handlebar moustache in photographs and self portraits.
  5. Was known as a fascist because of his insistence upon remaining in fascist occupied Spain during WWII.

Early Years of Dali.

Born in Catalonia to a well respected Catholic family, he had one younger sister and the family remained Catholic until his death. Dali believed he was the reincarnation of his own brother who had died nine months before his birth and who was also named Salvador. This belief was compounded by his parents consistently telling him that this was the case. He was expelled from school on numerous occasions as a child, generally for will full disobedience, though this only shows the guy had ego long before the art world had met him. He was obviously going to be brilliant at something (really we should be thank full he didn't choose murder over painting). Salvador claimed he was descended from the original Moorish invaders of Portugal. This has never been proven to be fact. I don't think it ever shall be proven. His first public exhibition was in 1917, although he had previously had showings of his art at parties in his parents palatial residence. Specifically these were to show off his talents; no wonder he had ego issues, now days a psychologist would diagnose him as a narcissist. With a possible Oedipal complex.

Dali in his own surreal photography.

Dali's education and works.

Studied at The School of Fine Arts in San Fernando Madrid though due to ongoing conflict with his tutors did not sit any of his exams. In fact when commenting on this he pronounced his tutors to be far too imbecilic and immature to be allowed to grade his great work. That's a sign of a man with a fantastically large ego. He was already known as an eccentric by fellow students due to his odd behaviour, clothing and styles. Had a passionate friendship with Frederico Garcia Lorca though stopped short all physical contact that could be misconstrued. He did later though use Lorca in a series of photographs regarding masturbation. Unfortunately it was hard to hold the camera straight whilst acting upon his art. Salvador's most famous painting was The Persistence of Time, yes the one with the melting clocks. If you look closely you notice the clocks are being nibbled on by locust type insects. This is a little strange as he had an intense fear of grasshoppers (incredibly handy when you live in a country that is full of Secada's!). Salvador was well known for self portrait photography as well as film, writing, jewellery design and sculpture. He also worked with Walt Disney on the movie "Destino", a film that was left to get dusty on the shelves of the Disney archives until 2003, when it was finished to the finest detail of Dali's storyboards. I still haven't heard of the movie though, so reckon that possibly Disney are withholding on us or it was just a little too surreal for the little minds Disney so often aims at. Although known as one of the great surrealists he was originally one of the cubist artists, yet when he first started to paint in the cubism style he was just using ideas in his head that had been fruited by looking at an early catalogue of cubist works. He illustrated the book "The Witches of Llers" before he had gained much in the way of fame for his arts (I cannot find any of the original illustrations unfortunately, as I'm told they are very Lois Royo). One of his great influences was Pablo Picasso, this can be seen in his work and from the way his brush strokes move. Edward James an English art collector spent many years collecting Dali's works and commissioned the most famous "Swans reflecting elephants", "Lobster Phone" and the "Mae West Lips" sofa (oh my I still want that couch, no really). Have to say I was never much into Ozzy Osborne until that couch swallowed him in the "No more tears" video. I am glad the directors of said video decided to use a fake and not the original Dali masterpiece, as the set flooded a few times during filming.

Dali and the surrealist movement.

During Dali's entry phase into the tight inner realms of surrealism, he was thrown an amazingly special ball in his honour after painting The Persistence of Memory, turned up at the party slightly high (okay amazingly high) and wearing a glass case strapped to his chest in which was a bra. (Bit like New York Pride week except now we just drop the glass case and the blokes don't give a damn who sees them wearing a bra). At this stage he became a large and resounding member of the surrealist movement to the point that art students are still taught his paranoiac critical method (using the inner consciousness to create self awareness in paintings). In 1936 Dali accused Joseph Cornell of "Astral Plagiarism" for his film of surrealism, which was timed amazingly to coincide with Dali's first New York exhibit. He is claimed to have thrown the projector to the floor midway through the initial screening (when lets be honest we'd all imagine he'd be at his gallery seeing his own opening), screaming "he stole the ideas from my dreams". Hmm not sure that's highly admissible in this day and age, let alone then. I'm pretty sure it would be hard to identify the copyright on a meme. Salvador became the face of surrealism as he was so outspoken and good at creating media coverage, upon his removal from "The surrealist group" after becoming magnanimously egocentric and supposedly money orientated; his only comment was "I cannot be removed I AM surrealism". Give the guy his credit. He was right.

The Private Life of Dali.

Salvador helped to write the short film "An Andalusian Dog". In the same year married his muse and business manager, Gala Diakonova, who was eleven years older than him. This lady was obviously akin to Serendipity from Dogma as she was also married to the poet Paul Elard. Is bigamy bad in a muse? He married his muse not once but twice. Once down at county hall and once in a Catholic church. Does that make him a bigamist too? (For my own curiosity I may look into this). "Meet my wife and my wife"? In 1929 Dali was kicked out of his family home after greatly displeasing his daddy. This wasn't all bad, it gave him and Gala the opportunity to buy the seaside property they'd always wanted and they continued to extend it into a villa until Gala and then Dali eventually kicked it. Dali's nickname became 'eager for dollars' at this point in his life. Now maybe I'm looking at this a little wrongly, but he was an artist. One of the few of all time who was recognised for longer than his fifteen minutes of fame while he was still alive! The being alive bit is what was most harmful because lets be honest, 97% of the other artists of the day were not recognised unless they were dead. Dead artists were and generally still are the most famous artists. Dali just had the flair to be a living famous artist who was paid well for his use of imagination and skill. I see some baa humbug backstabbing going on in the artistic world. Nope it hasn't change either. Dali wrote and published his own biography, "The secret life of Salvador Dali". Its most famous quote pertains to the fact that art in all of its forms had become sterile and overly steered by the wants of society. Leaving little room for the psyche to express itself. This was always one of Dali's big grievances. Art to him was about self expression. He wrote a variety of other books regarding mysticism and the psyche although these aren't as well known. In his later art career Dali experimented with holography using it with great pride (obviously he was the first person to ever use holographic imaging as an art form) and his arts became full of optical illusions and religious satire. His only long term continued medium were portraits of a sexual nature, each portrait including Gala. Dali laid the foundation for 60's pop art and was a great mentor to the greatest pop artist of all times Andy Warhol. Who himself only managed a short fifteen minutes of fame. Salvador Dali shall in fact remain in hearts, minds and art history books for a long time to come.

The dream

Dali's Pet Peeves.

Well he was not a man who greatly advertised his dislikes but he obviously had a fair few. Not least of which was his fear for crickets and insects. Poor show there chap, your supposed to rescue the damsel in distress not be her! He also had a hatred of feet. Now this I can relate to. Dali was not a foot fetishist (I knew I would find someone else eventually who hated the way feet look). Although there have been claims that Dali was clinically insane there is no proof to back this up at any juncture, this could yet again be down to his eccentricity and wish to be known as someone who suffered from insanity (all the best artists were you know). In 1936, Dalí took part in the London International Surrealist Exhibition. His lecture, called "Fantomes paranoiaques authentiques", was held while he wore a deep-sea diving suit and helmet. He arrived holding a billiard cue and with a pair of Russian wolfhounds, eventually having to have the helmet unscrewed as he gasped for breath and neared unconsciousness. He commented that "I just wanted to show that I was plunging deeply into the human mind." Whether this can be construed as insanity or eccentricity is for you to decide.