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Biography of Salvador Dali

Short Biography of Salvador Dali 

Dali and Gala were two Spanish surrealist artists who married each other and worked together to create some of their most iconic works.

They were known for their dreamlike and fantastical imagery, often incorporating the natural world, religious symbolism, and subconscious elements into their paintings.

Early Life of Salvador Dali

Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí I Domènech is one of the best-known surrealist artists.

With his enormous talent for drawing, he painted his unconscious mind precisely.

He was the son of Salvador and Felipa Dome (Domenech) Dali and was born on 11 May 1904 in Figueras, Spain.

Dali’s father was a notary (one who signs important documents).

In his autobiography, Dali claims that in his youth, he had angry outbursts directed at his parents and classmates, who treated him cruelly.

Dali attended the Institute in Figueres, Spain and Colegio de los Hermanos Maristas.

By 1921, he had convinced his father that he could support himself as an artist and got permission to travel to Madrid, Spain, to pursue a career in painting. 

The surreal painter of Italy, Giorgio de Chirico, greatly impacted him (1888–1978).

He was a bright kid who started painting creative pictures at a young age.

Additionally, he experimented with cubism (a style of art that uses simple geometric shapes and forms to show objects in a different way than usual, challenging the usual way of seeing things by playing with perspectives and making the art look less realistic). 

Eventually, Spanish authorities temporarily detained Dali for political opposition activities before his expulsion from art school in 1925.

Association with the Surrealist movement

Association with the Surrealist movement
Image: Dw.com

After a while, Dali developed his unique technique. 

He would sketch the bizarre subjects from his dream world with remarkable precision. 

Each finely drawn object stood out strangely from the surrounding things and was in a space that frequently seemed to lean abruptly upward.

After leaving school, Dali emerged as one of the era’s great artists. 

The one person from whom he was most eager to learn was Pablo Picasso. 

He first encountered Picasso in 1926; the Catalan genius’s art significantly impacted Dali.

He also learned from the painters René Magritte and Joan Miró.

For surrealists, art is a way to explore their unconscious minds.

Dali first came in contact with the movement by seeing paintings.

After that, he visited Paris, France, in 1928 to meet with other surrealist artists.

The Persistence of Memory, one of his most famous works, is a landscape full of melting pocket watches.

Throughout the 1930s, Dal’s relationship with Surrealists was strained, especially with André Breton, the movement’s leader and creator. 

His arrogant attitude and refusal to adapt his actions and attitudes to the Surrealist objective led to growing discord among the group.

Breton grew more outspoken in his criticism of Dali’s rising fame and commercialism, giving him the anagram nickname “Avida Dollars.”

Despite the tension and disagreements, Dali continued participating in Surrealist shows and gained much attention to the movement.

In 1934, a key event in Dali’s life was meeting his wife, Gala, who was then married to another surrealist. 

She became the main influence in his paintings and personal life. 

By 1939, Dal had wholly cut all ties with the Surrealists. 

His association with artistic movements and organizations ended when he left the Surrealists.

He remained an independent artist for the rest of his life, creating his style and exploring his introspective and paranoid pathways.

Later Years

In 1974, Dali ended his relationship with English business manager Peter Moore.

 As a result, other managers sold the rights to his artwork without including him in any form of profits.

In 1980, A. Reynolds Morse of Cleveland, Ohio, set up  Friends to Save Dali. 

By then, Dali had lost much of his riches, and the foundation’s goal was to get him back on firm financial ground.

At the Madrid Museum of Contemporary Art in 1983, Dali exhibited many of his artworks. 

This exhibition made him famous in Spain and a favorite of the Spanish royal family and major collectors worldwide.

After being hurt in a house fire in 1984, Dali confined himself to a  wheelchair.

On 23 January 1989, he took his last breath in Figueras, Spain.

Before his death, he witnessed the inauguration of two museums dedicated to his art, Teatre-Museu in Figueres (Dali Museum) and the Salvador Dali Museum in ST. Petersburg, Florida.

Today he is remembered as one of the greatest Surrealist artists.

Gala Dali Biography

“I name my wife: Gala, Galushka, Gradiva; Oliva, for the oval shape of her face and the color of her skin; Oliveta, diminutive for Olive; and its delirious derivatives Oliueta, Oriueta, Buribeta, Buriueteta, Suliueta, Solibubuleta, Oliburibuleta, Ciueta, Liueta. I also call her Lionette because when she gets angry, she roars like the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lion”

Salvador Dali’s muse and wife, Elena Ivanovna Diakonova (Kazan – Russian Empire, 1894, Cadaques – Spain, 1982), was a  highly intellectual and mysterious woman.

Ever since Dali and Gala first met in 1929, Gala has played a massive role in her husband’s life.

They were together for 53 years without being apart.

Gala Dali Early Life

Gala dali Early life
Image: Biography.com

Galina Sergeevna Dyakonova was born to Sergei and Anna Dyakonov in late-1890s Moscow, Russia. 

She had two older brothers, Vadim and Nikolai, and a younger sister, Lidia. 

Gala’s father died when she was just eleven years old. Later, her mother remarried a lawyer.

Fortunately for Gala, this new union proved beneficial; she developed close bonds with her stepfather, who aided her significantly in acquiring an education.

She graduated from M.G Brukhonenko Academy for young ladies with remarkable grades. 

 Eventually, she became a primary school teacher, giving private lessons in people’s homes.

In 1912 she traveled to Clavadel sanatorium in Switzerland to treat Tuberculosis.

There she met her first husband, Eugene Grindel (later known as Paul Elurad).

In 1917 they got married, and Gala’s only child Cwcile was born the following year. 

Eluard was a poet and had close relations with the prominent figures of the surrealist movement, particularly Max Ernst, Louis Aragon and André Breton.

In 1922, Gala and Max Ernst started dating, but their relationship ended in 1924.

Her association with the poet René Char, particularly René Crevel, is also notable.

In April 1929, Dali went to Paris to present his film, where Camille Goemans, a gallery owner, introduced Salvador to Paul Eluard.

Salvador Dalí invited a few close friends to spend the summer in Cadaqués, including Paul Eluard, Gala, and their daughter Cécile. 

Upon meeting Gala for the first time, it was love at first sight.

In his Secret Life, he stated: “Gala was destined to be my Gradiva ( name taken from the novel by W. Jensen. Gradiva was the book’s heroine who brought psychological healing to the main character of the book) the one who moves me forward— my wife, my victory”. 

And Gala was to remain by the painter’s side for the rest of her life; thus, her biography tied with Dalí forever.

Gala and Salvador DalÍ Love Story

Gala and her family and friends first met Dali in 1929 during a trip to Cadaques.

The gallery owner and Belgian poet Camille Goemans introduced Dali to Eluard In Paris.

Despite having a ten-year age difference, Dali and Gala’s love affair developed quickly. 

In 1934 they both got married in a civil ceremony.

Dali’s father initially disapproved of the union because he did not want a Russian divorcee as one of his sons’ suitors.

Despite criticisms from different quarters, the two passionate people moved in together.

Gala was Dal’s muse, the subject of his obsession, and he portrayed her in many of his works of art. 

In his autobiography “My Secret Life.” he mentioned, “She was actually supposed to become my Gradiva, the one who marches forward, my victory, and my bride”.

Gala motivated him to paint and greatly impacted his artistic output.

It was in 1958 when Gala and Dali married in a catholic ceremony at the Angels chapel near Girona.

In 1968, Dali bought Gala Castle in Pubol, Girona and agreed that he would not go there without her consent.

Gala has been described as “the most visible falling star, the most clearly defined, and the most finite” by Dali. 

Gala passed away on June 10th, 1982, two years before Dali.

She lives in the crypt of the Pubol castle, a section of the estate owned and run by the Gala Salvador Dali Foundation and is today a popular tourist destination.

 In his book “Diary of Genius” Dali said, “I love her more than my father, more than my mother, more than Picasso, and even more than money.”

By booking this combo ticket for Dali Museum and Dali House, you may witness firsthand the passionate yet twisted love tale of one of the greatest surrealism artists.

Don’t forget to check the opening hours to avoid disappointment.

Salvador Dali Biography Books

Many books are available on the life and work of Salvador Dali, ranging from biographies to art history books. Here are some popular options:

  • The Secret Life of Salvador Dali
    Author-  Salvador Dali
    About- Salvador Dali brief biography by Dali himself provides insights into his life and creative process. 
  • Dali: The Paintings
    Author- Robert Descharnes 
    About- This book is a comprehensive catalog of Dali’s paintings, accompanied by essays and analyses.
  • Salvador Dali: The Making of an Artist
    Author- Catherine Grenier
    About- This biography of Salvador Dali explores his childhood, education, and early career as an artist.
  • Dali and His World
    Author- Patricia Railing
    About-  This book provides an overview of Dali’s life and work and the cultural and historical context in which he lived.
  • Salvador Dali: The Surrealist Jester
    Author- Mike Venezia
    About- This children’s book introduces young readers to Dali’s life and art in a fun and accessible way.

Featured Image: Theartstory.org

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