Salvador Dali (Spanish, 1904–1989) was a prominent Surrealist artist. Dali spent his childhood in the Spanish villages of Figueres and Cadaques. He was influenced by Renaissance masters such as Raphael (Italian, 1483–1520). Dali showed artistic talent at an early age, so his parents arranged for him to receive drawing lessons from Impressionist painter, Ramón Pichot (Spanish, 1872–1925). Dali was a student at Madrid’s Royal Academy of Art, but he never finished school.
In 1925, the artist held his first solo exhibition in Barcelona. Dali would gain some international recognition in 1928 when the Carnegie International Exhibition showed three of his works, one of which was Basket of Bread. He met Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973) in Paris that year. In 1929, he became acquainted with André Breton (French, 1896–1966), a key figure of the budding Surrealist movement. The Surrealists followed Sigmund Freud’s theories concerning unconsciousness and the dream state, and used these theories to incorporate imaginative ideas into their works. Dali’s The Persistence Of Memory is often cited as one of the most important pieces of this style.
World War II forced Dali and his wife to flee Europe. The couple spent most of the 1940s in the United States. New York’s Museum of Modern Art held a retrospective exhibition of Dali’s work in 1941. He wrote his autobiography, The Secret Life of Salvador Dali, the following year. Dali deviated from Surrealism in the 1950s and began painting a more classical series of 19 paintings. These works incorporated topics such as history, religion, and science. Washington D.C.’s National Gallery holds The Sacrament of the Last Supper, while The Salvador Dali Museum is the home of The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. Dali not only painted, but also collaborated with other artists in sculpture, photography, and film. Walt Disney collaborated with him on the film Destino. Dali spent the last years of his life in Torre Galatea, Spain. The artist died on January 23, 1989.
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Salvador Dalí (Spanish, 1904-1989) was an artist known as one of the forefathers of the surrealist movement. His highly imaginative works took inspiration from the art of Renaissance masters. As a youth, Dalí attended drawing school and on a summer trip to Cadaqués with the family of artist Ramon Pichot, he discovered modern art. The following year, the artist’s father presented an exhibition of Dalí’s works in their family home. His first formal exhibition was held at the Municipal Theater, Figueres in 1919. In 1922, Dalí began studying at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando and began experimenting with Cubism. Dalí was expelled from the Academia in 1926 and traveled to Paris where he met Pablo Picasso, whom he respected highly. In 1936, his work was featured in the Museum of Modern Art, New York’s first surrealist exhibition. At the New York World’s Fair in 1939, Dalí presented his famous “Dream of Venus” in the surrealist pavilion, which was photographed by such luminaries as Horst P. Horst, Murray Korman, and George Platt Lynes. His works have been noted for his extensive symbolism and aside from his contributions to painting, Dalí also made substantial contributions to architecture, literature, photography, theater, and film.
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