Tag Archives: Salvador Dalí

Salvador Dalì

Salvador Dalì: creative genius

 

This year, as always, we celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Salvador Dalì (1904-1989). The surrealist painter, sculptor, philosopher, chef, author, filmmaker (to name a few of his strong points), is thought by many to be one of the most creative and brilliant minds of the twentieth century.

Dalí’s mustache was already famous, but was made legendary by the vision and foresight of the great photographer, Philippe Halsman.

To read more and see many of the great artist’s works, please click here to see the full article on the maestro, posted on his birthday in 2016.


Salvador Dalì

Digital collage portrait
by Terri Maxfield Lipp
Created for
TML Arts: The Artist Birthday Series
(click image for full resolution)


TML Arts aims for accuracy in content and functionality in posts.
Click the button below to let us know about typos, incorrect information, broken links, erroneous attribution,
or additional relative information.

See something? Say something.



Special thanks to: Daily Artfixx, On This Day, WikipediaFind-A-Grave, A&E Bio, The Smithsonian American Art Museum Renwick Gallery, Famous Birthdays, Encyclopedia Brittanica, and all the art history buffs that keep the internet full of wonderful information and images. 


William Bouguereau

William Bouguereau: painter

William-Adolphe Bouguereau (November 30, 1825 – August 19, 1905) was a French academic painter and traditionalist. In his realistic genre paintings he used mythological themes, making modern interpretations of classical subjects, with an emphasis on the female human body. During his life he enjoyed significant popularity in France and the United States, was given numerous official honors, and received top prices for his work. As the quintessential salon painter of his generation, he was reviled by the Impressionist avant-garde. By the early twentieth century, Bouguereau and his art fell out of favor with the public, due in part to changing tastes. In the 1980s, a revival of interest in figure painting led to a rediscovery of Bouguereau and his work.

portrait_of_william-adolphe_bouguereau

William-Adolphe Bouguereau was born in La Rochelle, France, on November 30, 1825, into a family of wine and olive oil merchants. He seemed destined to join the family business but for the intervention of his uncle Eugène, a Roman Catholic priest, who taught him classical and Biblical subjects, and arranged for Bouguereau to go to high school. He showed artistic talent early on, and his father was convinced by a client to send him to the École des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux, where the young artist won first prize in figure painting for a depiction of Saint Roch. During this time, in order to earn extra money, he designed labels for jams and preserves.

"Equality Before Death," 1848 - one of the artist's rare early works
“Equality Before Death,” 1848 – one of the artist’s rare early works

Through his uncle, Bouguereau was given a commission to paint portraits of parishioners, and when his aunt matched the sum he earned, Bouguereau went to Paris and became a student at the École des Beaux-Arts. To supplement his formal training in drawing, he attended anatomical dissections and studied historical costumes and archeology. He was admitted to the studio of François-Édouard Picot, where he studied painting in the academic style.

"L'Idylle," 1850
“L’Idylle,” 1850

Academic painting placed the highest status on historical and mythological subjects and Bouguereau won the coveted Prix de Rome at age 26 in 1850, with his Zenobia Found by Shepherds on the Banks of the Araxes. His reward was a year at the Villa Medici in Rome, Italy, where in addition to formal lessons he was able to study first-hand the Renaissance artists and their masterpieces, as well as Greek, Etruscan, and Roman antiquities. He also studied classical literature, which influenced his subject choice for the rest of his career.

"Zenobia Discovered by Shepherds on the Banks of the Araxes," 1850
“Zenobia Discovered by Shepherds on the Banks of the Araxes,” 1850

Bouguereau, painting within the traditional academic style, exhibited at the annual exhibitions of the Paris Salon for his entire working life. An early reviewer stated, “M. Bouguereau has a natural instinct and knowledge of contour. The eurythmie of the human body preoccupies him, and in recalling the happy results which, in this genre, the ancients and the artists of the sixteenth century arrived at, one can only congratulate M. Bouguereau in attempting to follow in their footsteps … Raphael was inspired by the ancients … and no one accused him of not being original.”Raphael was a favorite of Bouguereau and he took this review as a high compliment. He had fulfilled one of the requirements of the Prix de Rome by completing an old-master copy of Raphael’s The Triumph of Galatea. In many of his works, he followed the same classical approach to composition, form, and subject matter.

Bouguereau's "Triumph of Galatea," 1852 - after Raphael
Bouguereau’s “Triumph of Galatea,” 1852 – after Raphael
The original "Triumph of Galatea," by Raphael, 1511
The original “Triumph of Galatea,” by Raphael, 1511

Bouguereau’s graceful portraits of women were considered very charming, partly because he could beautify a sitter while also retaining her likeness. He gained wide fame in Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, and in the United States, and commanded high prices. In his own time, Bouguereau was considered to be one of the greatest painters in the world by the academic art community, and he was simultaneously reviled by the avant-garde for his traditionalism.

tumblr_nm9qjzf5o81u7jur8o1_1280

Bouguereau’s career was close to a direct ascent with hardly a setback. To many, he epitomized taste and refinement, and a respect for tradition. To others however, he was a competent technician stuck in the past. Degas and his associates used the term “Bouguereauté” in a derogatory manner to describe any artistic style reliant on “slick and artificial surfaces”, also known as a “licked finish.” In an 1872 letter, Degas wrote that he strove to emulate Bouguereau’s ordered and productive working style, although with Degas’ famous trenchant wit, and the aesthetic tendencies of the Impressionists, it is possible the statement was meant to be ironic. Paul Gauguin loathed him, rating him a round zero in his book Racontars de Rapin, and later describing in Avant et après (Intimate Journals) the single occasion when Bouguereau made him smile on coming across a couple of his paintings in an Arles’ brothel, “where they belonged”.
cupid-and-psyche-1889
In 1856, he married Marie-Nelly Monchablon and together they had five children, three sons and two daughters.

marie-nelly

By the late 1850s, he had made strong connections with art dealers, particularly Paul Durand-Ruel (later the champion of the Impressionists), who helped clients buy paintings from artists who exhibited at the Salons. Thanks to Paul Durand-Ruel, Bouguereau met Hugues Merle, who later often was compared to Bouguereau. The Salons annually drew over 300,000 people, providing valuable exposure to exhibited artists.

"Song Of The Angels," 1881
“Song Of The Angels,” 1881

Bouguereau’s fame extended to England by the 1860s, and with his growing income he bought a large house and studio in Montparnasse, an area of Paris popular with artists to this day. Although relatively little is known about it, Bouguereau’s private life was less than idyllic. He and his family lived together with his domineering mother in a purposely-built large house and studio at 75, rue Notre-Dame des Champs.

The house of Bouguereau, Paris (photo by robh)
The house of Bouguereau, Paris (photo by robh)

Bouguereau was a staunch traditionalist whose genre paintings and mythological themes were modern interpretations of Classical subjects, both pagan and Christian, with a concentration on the naked female human body. The idealized world of his paintings brought to life goddesses, nymphs, bathers, shepherdesses, and madonnas in a way that appealed to wealthy art patrons of the era.

before-the-bath-1900
“Before The Bath,” 1900
"Le Guêpier (The Wasp's Nest)," 1892
“Le Guêpier (The Wasp’s Nest),” 1892
"The Wave," 1896
“The Wave,” 1896
"Les Deux Baigneuses (The Two Bathers)," 1884
“Les Deux Baigneuses (The Two Bathers),” 1884

Bouguereau employed traditional methods of working up a painting, including detailed pencil studies and oil sketches, and his careful method resulted in a pleasing and accurate rendering of the human form. His painting of skin, hands, and feet was particularly admired. He also used some of the religious and erotic symbolism of the Old Masters, such as the “broken pitcher” which connoted lost innocence.

"The Broken Pitcher," 1891
“The Broken Pitcher,” 1891

Bouguereau received many commissions to decorate private houses, public buildings, and churches. As was typical of such commissions, Bouguereau would sometimes paint in his own style, and at other times conform to an existing group style. Early on, Bouguereau was commissioned in all three venues, which added enormously to his prestige and fame. He also made reductions of his public paintings for sale to patrons, of which The Annunciation (1888) is an example. He was also a successful portrait painter and many of his paintings of wealthy patrons remain in private hands.

"Virgin Of The Lillies," 1999
“Virgin Of The Lillies,” 1999
"Pietà," 1876
“Pietà,” 1876
"Annunciation," 1888
“Annunciation,” 1888

From the 1860s, Bouguereau was closely associated with the Académie Julian, and in 1875 began teaching there. The Académie was a co-ed art institution independent of the École des Beaux-Arts, with no entrance exams and with nominal fees, where he gave lessons and advice to art students, male and female, from around the world. During several decades he taught drawing and painting to hundreds, if not thousands, of students.

Atelier of Bouguereau, women's class, late 1800's
Atelier of Bouguereau, women’s class, late 1800’s

Many of them managed to establish artistic careers in their own countries, sometimes following his academic style, and in other cases, rebelling against it, like one of his most famous students, Henri Matisse.

Matisse (center, seated) while a student of William Bouguereau
Matisse (center, seated) while a student of William Bouguereau

Throughout the years, Bouguereau steadily gained numerous honors of the Académie, reaching Life Member in 1876, Grand Medal of Honor in 1885, Commander of the Legion of Honor in 1885, and Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor in 1905.

982213bouguereauatelier
In 1877, both his wife and infant son died. At a rather advanced age, Bouguereau was married for the second time in 1896, to fellow artist Elizabeth Jane Gardner Bouguereau, one of his pupils. He used his influence to open many French art institutions to women for the first time, including the Académie Française.

Elizabeth Jane Goodall Bouguereau (n/d)
Elizabeth Jane Goodall Bouguereau (n/d)

7425c421d5712d1e98b5ba20f69a7c6f

Near the end of his life he described his love of his art: “Each day I go to my studio full of joy; in the evening when obliged to stop because of darkness I can scarcely wait for the next morning to come … if I cannot give myself to my dear painting I am miserable.” In his lifetime, he is known to have painted 826 paintings, the whereabouts of many are still unknown.

5071ffe158c6ccdf29f2c275240a8c41
In the spring of 1905, Bouguereau’s house and studio in Paris were burgled, with much vandalism and a number of his works stolen. Having suffered from heart disease for some years already, the stress of this event took its toll on the aged master. His heart, now broken emotionally as well as physically, stopped beating on August 19, 1905. Bouguereau was 79. He was buried at the Cimetière de Montparnasse, in Paris.

11465820_115260315644

In 1974, the New York Cultural Center staged a show of Bouguereau’s work partly as a curiosity, although curator Robert Isaacson had his eye on the long-term rehabilitation of Bouguereau’s legacy and reputation. In 1984, the Borghi Gallery hosted a commercial show of 23 oil paintings and one drawing. In the same year a major exhibition was organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in Canada. The exhibition opened at the Musée du Petit-Palais, in Paris, traveled to The Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, and concluded in Montréal. More recently, resurgence in the artist’s popularity has been promoted by American collector Fred Ross, who owns a number of paintings by Bouguereau and features him on his website at Art Renewal Center.

51c1ombsul-_sx368_bo1204203200_

The great master Salvador Dalí was also a collector of Bouguereau’s work later in his life, and one can easily see the influence that the traditionalist had on the most famous surrealist in history. This influence is notable in the piece left unfinished at Dalí’s Port Lligat home in Spain. Dalí left the home upon the death of his beloved wife Gala, and never returned to finish what certainly would have been another in his long series of masterpieces.

"Baigneuse," 1870, now located at the Musée Gala-Salvador Dali, Figueres, Spain
“Baigneuse,” 1870, now located at the Musée Gala-Salvador Dali, Figueres, Spain
Unfinished work by Salvador Dalí, in Port Lligat, Spain (photo by TMLipp)
Unfinished work by Salvador Dalí, in Port Lligat, Spain (photo by TMLipp)

Since 1975 prices for Bouguereau’s works have climbed steadily, with major paintings selling at high prices: $1,500,000 in 1998 for The Heart’s Awakening, $2,600,000 in 1999 for Alma Parens and Charity at auction in May 2000 for $3,500,000.

"Leveil du coeur (The Heart's Awakening)," 1892
“Leveil du coeur (The Heart’s Awakening),” 1892

Notre Dame des Anges (Our Lady of the Angels) was last shown publicly in the United States at the World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago in 1893. In 2002 it was donated to the Daughters of Mary Mother of Our Savior, an order of nuns is affiliated with Clarence Kelly’s Traditionalist Catholic Society of St. Pius V. In 2009 the nuns sold it to an art dealer for $450,000, who was able to sell it for more than $2 million dollars. The nuns were subsequently found guilty of libel in 2012 by an Albany, New York jury of defaming the dealer in remarks made in a television interview.

"Our Lady Of The Angels,"
“Our Lady Of The Angels,” 1893

Edited from:


William Bouguereau

Digital collage portrait by TMLipp
Created for The Artist Birthday Series:
(click image for full resolution)

bouguereau-feat


TML Arts aims for accuracy in content and functionality in posts.
Click the button below to let us know about typos, incorrect information, broken links, erroneous attribution,
or additional relative information.

See something? Say something.



Special thanks to: Daily Artfixx, On This Day, WikipediaFind-A-Grave, A&E Bio, The Smithsonian American Art Museum Renwick Gallery, Famous Birthdays, Encyclopedia Brittanica, and all the art history buffs that keep the internet full of wonderful information and images. 


Diego Velázquez

Today’s Artist Birthday: Diego Velázquez

Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez was born in Seville, Spain, circa June 6, 1599. At the age of 11, he began a six-year apprenticeship with local painter Francisco Pacheco. His early works were of the traditional religious themes favored by his master, but he also became influenced by the naturalism of Italian painter Caravaggio.

Diego Velázquez, Self Portrait, c. 1645
Diego Velázquez, Self Portrait, c. 1645

Velázquez set up his own studio after completing his apprenticeship in 1617. A year later, he married Pacheco’s daughter, Juana. By 1621, the couple had two daughters.

"Portrait of Count Duke of Olivares," by Diego Velázquez, 1624
“Portrait of Count Duke of Olivares,” by Diego Velázquez, 1624

In 1622, he moved to Madrid, where, thanks to his father-in-law’s connections, he earned the chance to paint a portrait of the powerful Count-Duke of Olivares. The count-duke then recommended Velázquez’s services to King Philip IV; upon seeing a completed portrait, the young king of Spain decided that no one else would paint him and appointed Velázquez one of his court painters.

"Portrait of Philip IV," by Diego Velázquez, 1623
“Portrait of Philip IV,” by Diego Velázquez, 1623

The move to the royal court gave Velázquez access to a vast collection of works and brought him into contact with important artists such as Flemish baroque master Peter Paul Reubens, who spent six months at the court in 1628. Among Velázquez’s notable works from that period were “The Triumph of Bacchus,” in which a group of revelers falls under the powerful spell of the Greek god of wine, painted in 1629.

"The Triumph of Bacchus," by Diego Velázquez, 1629
“The Triumph of Bacchus,” by Diego Velázquez, 1629

Velázquez traveled to Italy from June 1629 to January 1631, where he was influenced by the region’s great artists. After returning to Madrid, he began a series of portraits that featured members of the royal family on horseback. He also devoted time to painting the dwarves who served in King Philip’s court, taking care to depict them as complex, intelligent beings. Along with his painting duties, he undertook increasing responsibilities within the court, ranging from wardrobe assistant to superintendent of palace works.

"Portrait of Prince Baltasar Carlos," by Diego Velázquez, c. 1634
“Portrait of Prince Baltasar Carlos,” by Diego Velázquez, c. 1635

"Portrait of Philip IV on Horseback," by Diego Velázquez, c. 1635
“Portrait of Philip IV on Horseback,” by Diego Velázquez, c. 1635

"Portrait of Sebastian de Morra," by Diego Velázquez, c. 1645
“Portrait of Sebastian de Morra,” by Diego Velázquez, c. 1645

He made a second trip to Italy from 1649 to 1651. During this time, he was given the opportunity to paint Pope Innocent X, producing a work that is considered among the finest portraits ever rendered. He also produced a stunning portrait of his servant, Juan de Pareja, which is admired for its striking realism.

"Portrait of Innocent X," by Diego Velázquez, 1650
“Portrait of Innocent X,” by Diego Velázquez, 1650

"Portrait of Juan de Pareja," by Diego Velázquez, 1649
“Portrait of Juan de Pareja,” by Diego Velázquez, 1649

Between 1649 and 1651, Velázquez completed the Venus Rokeby (original title was Venus at Her Mirror,) his only surviving female nude. Almost three centuries later, on March 10, 1914, the suffragette (as well as, arsonist, railway terrorist, and fascist) Mary Richardson walked into the National Gallery of London and attacked Velázquez’s canvas with a meat cleaver. Richardson left seven slashes on the painting, particularly causing damage to the area between the figure’s shoulders.However, all were successfully repaired by the National Gallery’s chief restorer Helmut Ruhemann.

The damage caused by the 1914 attack by an overzealous suffragette.
The damage caused by the 1914 attack by an overzealous suffragette wielding a hatchet.

The arrest of Mary Richardson after her attack on the painting by Velázquez, 1914.
The arrest of Mary Richardson after her attack on the painting by Velázquez, 1914.

Richardson was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, the maximum allowed for destruction of an artwork. In a statement to the Women’s Social and Political Union shortly afterwards, Richardson explained, “I have tried to destroy the picture of the most beautiful woman in mythological history as a protest against the Government for destroying Mrs. Pankhurst (a friend/lover who had been arrested days earlier), who is the most beautiful character in modern history.” She added in a 1952 interview that she didn’t like “the way men visitors gaped at it all day long“.

"Venus At Her Mirror (aka Rokeby Venus)," by Diego Velázquez, 1649-51
“Venus At Her Mirror (aka Rokeby Venus),” by Diego Velázquez, painted between 1649-51 – after the beautiful restoration job by the London National Gallery’s chief restorer Helmut Ruhemann

But back in the 17th century, Velázquez returned to his portraiture after rejoining the Madrid court, his technique more assured than ever. In 1656, he produced perhaps his most acclaimed work, Las Meninas. In this snapshot-like painting, two handmaidens dote on future empress Margarita Theresa while the artist peers from behind a large easel, ostensibly studying the king and queen, though his gaze meets the viewer’s.

"Las Meninas," by Diego Velázquez
“Las Meninas,” by Diego Velázquez, 1656

In 1660 a peace treaty between France and Spain was consummated by the marriage of Spain’s princess Maria Theresa with the future king of France, Louis XIV. The ceremony took place on the Island of Pheasants, a small swampy island in the Bidassoa. Velázquez was charged with the decoration of the Spanish pavilion and with the entire scenic display. He attracted much attention from the nobility “of his bearing and the splendor of his costume.”

"Portrait of Maria Teresa, Infanta of Spain," by Diego Velázquez, 1651-54
“Portrait of Maria Teresa, Infanta of Spain,” by Diego Velázquez, 1651-54

On June 26 he returned to Madrid feeling ill, and on July 31 he was stricken with fever, most likely malaria. He struggled to survive but was to die on August 6, 1660. He was buried in the church of San Juan Bautista, and within eight days his wife Juana was buried beside him. Unfortunately, this church was destroyed by the French in 1811, so his place of interment is now unknown.

Detail from "Las Meninas," Diego Velázquez Self Portrait
Detail from “Las Meninas,” Diego Velázquez Self Portrait

Velázquez is remembered as one of the great masters of Western art. Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalì are among the artists who considered him a strong influence, while French Impressionist Édouard Manet described the Spanish great as “the Painter of Painters.”


Edited from:


see an error? click here to send corrections!


Salvador Dalí

Today’s Artist Birthday: Salvador Dalí

Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, Marqués de Dalí de Pubol (11 May 1904 – 23 January 1989), known as Salvador Dalí, was a prominent Spanish surrealist painter born in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain. He 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 August 1931. Dalí’s expansive artistic repertoire included film, sculpture, and photography, in collaboration with a range of artists in a variety of media.

salvador dali color by TMLipp

Dalí attributed his “love of everything that is gilded and excessive, my passion for luxury and my love of oriental clothes” to an “Arab lineage”, claiming that his ancestors were descended from the Moors. He was highly imaginative, and also enjoyed indulging in unusual and grandiose behavior. His eccentric manner and attention-grabbing public actions sometimes drew more attention than his artwork, to the dismay of those who held his work in high esteem, and to the irritation of his critics.

Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech was born on 11 May 1904, at 8:45 am GMT, at the 1st floor of Carrer Monturiol, 20 (presently 6), in the town of Figueres, in the Empordà region, close to the French border in Catalonia, Spain. In the Summer of 1912, the family moved to the top floor of Carrer Monturiol 24 (presently 10). Dalí’s older brother, who had also been named Salvador, on 1 August 1903, just nine months prior to the great artist’s birth. His father, Salvador Dalí i Cusí, was a middle-class lawyer and notary whose strict disciplinary approach was tempered by his wife, Felipa Domenech Ferrés, who encouraged her son’s artistic endeavors.

dali child
Salvador Dalí as a child, 1905

When he was five, Dalí was taken to his brother’s grave and told by his parents that he was his brother’s reincarnation, a concept 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.” Images of his long-dead brother would reappear embedded in his later works, including “Portrait of My Dead Brother” (1963). He also had one sister, Anna, who was three years younger than he.

Salvador Dali in 1911, age 7
Salvador Dali in 1911, age 7

As a child, Dalí attended drawing school. In 1916, he also discovered modern painting on a summer vacation trip 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, a site he would return to decades later.

Dalí's father, , 1910
Dalí’s father, Salvador Dalí i Cusí , 1910
Dali's mother, , 1910
Dali’s mother, Felipa Domenech Ferrés, 1910

In February 1921, Dalí’s mother died of breast cancer. Dalí was 16 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. It is documented that Dalí did not resent this marriage, because he had a great love and respect for his aunt.

Salvador and his sister Anna Dalí, in Cadaquéz, 1925
Salvador and his sister Anna Dalí, in Cadaqués, 1925

In 1922, Dalí moved into the Residencia de Estudiantes (Students’ Residence) in Madrid and studied at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando. A lean 1.72 metres (5 ft 7 3⁄4 in) tall, Dalí already drew attention as an eccentric and dandy. He had long hair and sideburns, coat, stockings, and knee-breeches in the style of English aesthetes of the late 19th century.

Dalí as a young man (n/d)
Dalí as a young man (n/d)

At the Residencia, he became close friends with (among others) Pepín Bello, Luis Buñuel, and Federico García Lorca. The friendship with Lorca had a strong element of mutual passion, but Dalí rejected the poet’s sexual advances.

From left to right, Dalí, Federico Garcia Lorca, and Pepin Bello at the
From left to right, Dalí, Federico García Lorca, and Pepín Bello at the Natural Sciences Museum in Madrid, 1925

However it was his paintings, in which he experimented with Cubism, that earned him the most attention from his fellow students. His only information on Cubist art had come from magazine articles and a catalog given to him by Pichot, since there were no Cubist artists in Madrid at the time. In 1924, the still-unknown Salvador Dalí illustrated a book for the first time. It was a publication of the Catalan poem Les bruixes de Llers (“The Witches of Llers”) by his friend and schoolmate, poet Carles Fages de Climent. Dalí also experimented with Dada, which influenced his work throughout his life.

cubist dali
“Self Portrait” in cubist style by Dalí, 1923

Dalí was expelled from the Academy in 1926, shortly before his final exams when he was accused of having led a student protest against the painter Daniel Vázquez Díaz not having been granted the chair of Painting at the Painting School. His mastery of painting skills at that time was evidenced by his realistic “The Basket of Bread,” painted in 1926. That same year, he made his first visit to Paris, where he met Pablo Picasso, whom the young Dalí revered. Picasso had already heard favorable reports about Dalí from Joan Miró, a fellow Catalan who introduced him to many Surrealist friends. As he developed his own style over the next few years, Dalí made a number of works heavily influenced by Picasso and Miró.

dali bread
“Basket Of Bread,” by Salvador Dalí, 1926

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, ranging from the most academically classic, to the most cutting-edge avant-garde. His classical influences included Raphael, Bronzino, Francisco de Zurbarán, Vermeer and Velázquez. He used both classical and modernist techniques, sometimes in separate works, and sometimes combined. Exhibitions of his works in Barcelona attracted much attention along with mixtures of praise and puzzled debate from critics.

Dalí grew a flamboyant moustache, influenced by 17th-century Spanish master painter Diego Velázquez. The moustache became an iconic trademark of his appearance for the rest of his life.

Dalí's moustache was already famous, but was made legendary by the vision and foresight of the great photographer, Philippe Halman.
Dalí’s moustache was already famous, but was made legendary by the vision and foresight of the great photographer, Philippe Halsman.

In 1929, Dalí collaborated with surrealist film director Luis Buñuel on the short film “Un Chien Andalou” (An Andalusian Dog). His main contribution was to help Buñuel write the script for the film. Also, in August 1929, Dalí met his lifelong and primary muse, inspiration, and future wife Gala, born Elena Ivanovna Diakonova. She was a Russian immigrant ten years his senior, who at that time was married to 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. His work had already been heavily influenced by surrealism for two years. The Surrealists hailed what Dalí called his paranoiac-critical method of accessing the subconscious for greater artistic creativity. (See the whole film, restored in HD here.)

Meanwhile, Dalí’s relationship with his father was close to rupture. Don Salvador Dalí y Cusi strongly disapproved of his son’s romance with Gala, and saw his connection to the Surrealists as a bad influence on his morals. The final straw was when Don Salvador read in a Barcelona newspaper that his son had recently exhibited in Paris a drawing of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, with a provocative inscription: “Sometimes, I spit for fun on my mother’s portrait”. Outraged, Don Salvador demanded that his son recant publicly. Dalí refused, perhaps out of fear of expulsion from the Surrealist group, and was violently thrown out of his paternal home on December 28, 1929. His father told him that he would be disinherited, and that he should never set foot in Cadaqués again. The following summer, Dalí and Gala rented a small fisherman’s cabin in a nearby bay at Port Lligat. He bought the place, and over the years enlarged it by buying the neighboring fishermen cabins, gradually building his much beloved villa by the sea. Dalí’s father would eventually relent and come to accept his son’s companion.

Gala and Dalí, 1933
Gala and Dalí, 1933

In 1931, Dalí painted one of his most famous works, “The Persistence of Memory,” which introduced a surrealistic image of soft, melting pocket watches. The general interpretation of the work is that the soft watches are a rejection of the assumption that time is rigid or deterministic. This idea is supported by other images in the work, such as the wide expanding landscape, and other limp watches shown being devoured by ants. It has also been theorized that the melting clocks coincided with Einstein’s theory of relativity. Shortly before his death however, Dalí revealed that he was inspired to do the painting after seeing some Camembert cheese melting in the sun.

"The Persistence Of Memory," by Salvador Dali, 19
“The Persistence Of Memory,” by Salvador Dali, 1931

Dalí and Gala, having lived together since 1929, were married in 1934 in a semi-secret civil ceremony. They later remarried in a Catholic ceremony in 1958. In addition to inspiring many artworks throughout her life, Gala would act as Dalí’s business manager, supporting their extravagant lifestyle while adeptly steering clear of insolvency. Gala seemed to tolerate Dalí’s dalliances with younger muses, secure in her own position as his primary relationship. Dalí continued to paint her as they both aged, producing sympathetic and adoring images of his muse. The “tense, complex and ambiguous relationship” lasting over 50 years would later become the subject of an opera, “Jo, Dalí” (I, Dalí) by Catalan composer Xavier Benguerel.

Dalí and Gala on one of their wedding days, 1934
Dalí and Gala on one of their wedding days, 1934

Dalí was introduced to the United States by art dealer Julien Levy in 1934. The exhibition in New York of Dalí’s works, including Persistence of Memory, created an immediate sensation. Social Register listees feted him at a specially organized “Dalí Ball”. He showed up wearing a glass case on his chest, which contained a brassiere. In that year, Dalí and Gala also attended a masquerade party in New York, hosted for them by heiress Caresse Crosby. For their costumes, they dressed as the Lindbergh baby and his kidnapper. The resulting uproar in the press was so great that Dalí apologized. When he returned to Paris, the Surrealists confronted him about his apology for a surrealist act.

While the majority of the Surrealist artists had become increasingly associated with leftist politics, Dalí maintained an ambiguous position on the subject of the proper relationship between politics and art. Leading surrealist André Breton accused Dalí of defending the “new” and “irrational” in “the Hitler phenomenon”, but Dalí quickly rejected this claim, saying, “I am Hitlerian neither in fact nor intention”. Dalí insisted that surrealism could exist in an apolitical context and refused to explicitly denounce fascism. Among other factors, this had landed him in trouble with his colleagues. Later in 1934, Dalí was subjected to a “trial”, in which he was formally expelled from the Surrealist group. To this, Dalí retorted, “I myself AM surrealism”.

Salvador Dalí arriving in New York City, December 7, 1936
Salvador Dalí arriving in New York City, December 7, 1936

In 1936, Dalí took part in the London International Surrealist Exhibition. His lecture, titled “Fantômes Paranoiaques Authentiques,” was delivered while wearing a deep-sea diving suit and helmet. 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.” In 1936, Dalí, aged 32, was featured on the cover of Time magazine.

dali diving suit
Dalí in his diving suit, at the London International Surrealists Exhibition on July 1, 1936, where he attempted to give his lecture “Fantômes Paranoiaques Authentiques.”

Also in 1936, at the premiere screening of Joseph Cornell’s film “Rose Hobart” at Julien Levy’s gallery in New York City, Dalí became famous for another incident. Levy’s program of short surrealist films was timed to take place at the same time as the first surrealism exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, featuring Dalí’s work. Dalí was in the audience at the screening, but halfway through the film, he knocked over the projector in a rage. “My idea for a film is exactly that, and I was going to propose it to someone who would pay to have it made”, he said. “I never wrote it down or told anyone, but it is as if he had stolen it”. Other versions of Dalí’s accusation tend to the more poetic: “He stole it from my subconscious!” or even “He stole my dreams!”

In this period, Dalí’s main patron in London was the very wealthy Edward James. He had helped Dalí emerge into the art world by purchasing many works and by supporting him financially for two years. They also collaborated on two of the most enduring icons of the Surrealist movement: the “Lobster Telephone” and the “Mae West Lips Sofa.”

lobster telephone
“Lobster Telephone,” by Salvador Dalí
"Mae West Lips Couch," by Salvador Dalí
“Mae West Lips Sofa,” by Salvador Dalí

In 1938, Dalí met Sigmund Freud thanks to Stefan Zweig. Dalí started to sketch Freud’s portrait, while the 82-year-old celebrity confided to others that “This boy looks like a fanatic.” Dalí was delighted upon hearing later about this comment from his hero.

Later, in September 1938, Salvador Dalí was invited by Gabrielle Coco Chanel to her house “La Pausa” in Roquebrune on the French Riviera. There he painted numerous paintings he later exhibited at Julien Levy Gallery in New York. At the end of the 20th century, “La Pausa” was partially replicated at the Dallas Museum of Art to welcome the Reeves collection and part of Chanel’s original furniture for the house.

Also in 1938, Dalí unveiled “Rainy Taxi,” a three-dimensional artwork, consisting of an actual automobile with two mannequin occupants. The piece was first displayed at the Galerie Beaux-Arts in Paris at the Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme, organised by André Breton and Paul Éluard. The Exposition was designed by artist Marcel Duchamp, who also served as host.

Inside Dalí's "Rainy Taxi"
Inside Dalí’s “Rainy Taxi”

At the 1939 New York World’s Fair, Dalí debuted his “Dream of Venus” surrealist pavilion, located in the Amusements Area of the exposition. It featured bizarre sculptures, statues, and live nude models in “costumes” made of fresh seafood, an event photographed by Horst P. Horst, George Platt Lynes and Murray Korman. Like most attractions in the Amusements Area, an admission fee was charged.

In 1939, André Breton coined the derogatory nickname “Avida Dollars”, an anagram for “Salvador Dalí”, which may be more or less translated as “eager for dollars”. This was a derisive reference to the increasing commercialization of Dalí’s work, and the perception that Dalí sought self-aggrandizement through fame and fortune. The Surrealists, many of whom were closely connected to the French Communist Party at the time, expelled him yet again from their movement. Some surrealists henceforth spoke of Dalí in the past tense, as if he were dead. The Surrealist movement and various members thereof would continue to issue extremely harsh polemics against Dalí until the time of his death, and beyond.

In 1940, as World War II tore through Europe, Dalí and Gala retreated to the United States, where they lived for eight years. They were able to escape because on June 20, 1940, they were issued visas by Aristides de Sousa Mendes, Portuguese consul in Bordeaux, France. Dalí’s arrival in New York was one of the catalysts in the development of that city as a world art center in the post-War years. Salvador and Gala Dalí crossed into Portugal and subsequently sailed on the Excambion from Lisbon to New York in August 1940. After the move, Dalí returned to the practice of Catholicism. “During this period, Dalí never stopped writing”, wrote Robert and Nicolas Descharnes.

Dalí worked prolifically in a variety of media during this period, designing jewelry, clothes, furniture, stage sets for plays and ballet, and retail store display windows. In 1939, while working on a window display for Bonwit Teller, he became so enraged by unauthorized changes to his work that he shoved a decorative bathtub through a plate glass window.

In 1941, Dalí drafted a film scenario for Jean Gabin called Moontide. In 1942, he published his autobiography, “The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí.” He wrote catalogs for his exhibitions, such as that at the Knoedler Gallery in New York in 1943. Therein he attacked some often-used surrealist techniques by proclaiming, “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” (collage). He also wrote a novel, published in 1944, about a fashion salon for automobiles. This resulted in a drawing by Edwin Cox in The Miami Herald, depicting Dalí dressing an automobile in an evening gown.

An Italian friar, Gabriele Maria Berardi, claimed to have performed an exorcism on Dalí while he was in France in 1947. In 2005, a sculpture of Christ on the Cross was discovered in the friar’s estate. It had been claimed that Dalí gave this work to his exorcist out of gratitude, and two Spanish art experts confirmed that there were adequate stylistic reasons to believe the sculpture was made by Dalí.

In 1948 Dalí and Gala moved back into their house in Port Lligat, on the coast near Cadaqués. For the next three decades, he would spend most of his time there painting, taking time off and spending winters with his wife in Paris and New York.

Late in his career Dalí did not confine himself to painting, but explored many unusual or novel media and processes: for example, he experimented with bulletist artworks. (Bulletist or bulletism is an artistic process that involves shooting ink at a blank piece of paper. The result is a type of ink blot. The artist can then develop images based on what is seen. Salvador Dalí claimed to have invented this technique.) Many of his late works incorporated optical illusions, negative space, visual puns and trompe l’œil visual effects. He also experimented with pointillism, enlarged half-tone dot grids (a technique which Roy Lichtenstein would later use), and stereoscopic images. He was among the first artists to employ holography in an artistic manner. In Dalí’s later years, young artists such as Andy Warhol proclaimed him an important influence on pop art.

Example of Dali's "Bulletism," from 1967
Example of Dali’s “Bulletism,” from 1967
Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali, circa 1978
Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali, circa 1978

Dalí also developed a keen interest in natural science and mathematics. This is manifested in several of his paintings, notably from the 1950s, in which he painted his subjects as composed of rhinoceros horn shapes. According to Dalí, the rhinoceros horn signifies divine geometry because it grows in a logarithmic spiral. He linked the rhinoceros to themes of chastity and to the Virgin Mary. Dalí was also fascinated by DNA and the tesseract (a 4-dimensional cube); an unfolding of a hypercube is featured in the painting Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus).

Dali-Rhino

At some point, Dalí had a glass floor installed in a room near his studio. He made extensive use of it to study foreshortening, both from above and from below, incorporating dramatic perspectives of figures and objects into his paintings. He also delighted in using the room for entertaining guests and visitors to his house and studio.

Dalí’s post–World War II period bore the hallmarks of technical virtuosity and an intensifying interest in optical effects, science, and religion. He became an increasingly devout Catholic, while at the same time he had been inspired by the shock of Hiroshima and the dawning of the “atomic age”. Therefore, Dalí labeled this period “Nuclear Mysticism”. In paintings such as “The Madonna of Port Lligat” (first version, 1949) and “Corpus Hypercubus” (1954), Dalí sought to synthesize Christian iconography with images of material disintegration inspired by nuclear physics. His “Nuclear Mysticism” works included such notable pieces as “La Gare de Perpignan” (1965) and “The Hallucinogenic Toreador” (1968–70).

In 1960, Dalí began work on his Theatre and Museum in his home town of Figueres; it was his largest single project and a main focus of his energy through 1974, when it opened. He continued to make additions through the mid-1980s.

Dalí continued to indulge in publicity stunts and self-consciously outrageous behavior. To promote his 1962 book The World of Salvador Dalí, he appeared in a Manhattan bookstore on a bed, wired up to a machine that traced his brain waves and blood pressure. He would autograph books while thus monitored, and the book buyer would also be given the paper chart recording.

In 1968, Dalí filmed a humorous television advertisement for Lanvin chocolates. In this, he proclaims in French “Je suis fou du chocolat Lanvin!” (“I’m crazy about Lanvin chocolate!”) while biting a morsel, causing him to become cross-eyed and his moustache to swivel upwards. In 1969, he designed the lollypop “Chupa Chups” logo, in addition to facilitating the design of the advertising campaign for the 1969 Eurovision Song Contest and creating a large on-stage metal sculpture that stood at the Teatro Real in Madrid.

In 1968, Dalí had bought a castle in Púbol for Gala; and starting in 1971 she would retreat there alone for weeks at a time. By Dalí’s own admission, he had agreed not to go there without written permission from his wife. His fears of abandonment and estrangement from his longtime artistic muse contributed to depression and failing health.

In 1980 at age 76, Dalí’s health took a catastrophic turn. His right hand trembled terribly, with Parkinson-like symptoms. His near-senile wife allegedly had been dosing him with a dangerous cocktail of unprescribed medicine that damaged his nervous system, thus causing an untimely end to his artistic capacity.

In 1982, King Juan Carlos bestowed on Dalí the title of “Marqués de Dalí de Púbol” (Marquis of Dalí de Púbol) in the nobility of Spain, hereby referring to Púbol, the place where he lived. The title was in first instance hereditary, but on request of Dalí changed to life only in 1983.

Gala died on 10 June 1982, at the age of 87. After Gala’s death, Dalí lost much of his will to live. He deliberately dehydrated himself, possibly as a suicide attempt, with claims stating he had tried 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 was the site of her death and her grave.

In May 1983, Dalí revealed what would be his last painting, “The Swallow’s Tail,” a work heavily influenced by the mathematical catastrophe theory of René Thom.

"The Swallow's Tail," Dalí's final painting.
“The Swallow’s Tail,” 1983, Dalí’s final painting.

In 1984, a fire broke out in his bedroom under unclear circumstances. It was possibly a suicide attempt by Dalí, or possibly simple negligence by his staff. Dalí was rescued by friend and collaborator Robert Descharnes and returned to Figueres, where a group of his friends, patrons, and fellow artists saw to it that he was comfortable living in his Theater-Museum in his final years.

There have been allegations that Dalí was forced by his guardians to sign blank canvases that would later, even after his death, be used in forgeries and sold as originals. It is also alleged that he knowingly sold otherwise-blank signed lithograph paper, possibly producing over 50,000 such sheets from 1965 until his death. 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; a pacemaker had previously been implanted. On December 5, 1988, he was visited by King Juan Carlos, who confessed that he had always been a serious devotee of Dalí. Dalí gave the king a drawing (Head of Europa, which would turn out to be Dalí’s final drawing) after the king visited him on his deathbed.

On the morning of 23 January 1989, while his favorite record of Tristan and Isolde played, Dalí died of heart failure at Figueres at the age of 84. He is buried in the crypt below the stage of his Theatre and Museum in Figueres. The location is across the street from the church of Sant Pere, where he had his baptism, first communion, and funeral, and is only three blocks from the house where he was born.

Salvador_Dali_Crypt_in_Figueres


Edited from:

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvador_Dal%C3%AD
  • http://www.salvador-dali.org/dali/en_bio-dali/
  • http://www.biography.com/people/salvador-dal-40389

see an error? click here to send corrections!