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Salvador Dali

1904-1989

 

Salvador Dali is perhaps the best known artist from the surrealist art scene, but he is not just a surrealist; his works have covered many different styles from impressionism to his own take on the classical style, and all reflect his mastery of the medium. 

Dali was  raised in the small farming community of Figueras, Catalogna, Spain, a place which inspired many of the landscapes found in his oeuvre.  Since he was the son of a wealthy notary, Dali also had the luxury of spending time at his family's summer home, working in a studio his parents had built for him.  Later, he attended the prestigious San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid, where he further honed his already impressive skills, albeit in a climate of conflict, brought on by creative differences with his teachers.

His first solo exhibition took place in Barcelona in 1925.  Three of his painting were later shown in America, at the third annual Carnegie International Exhibition in Pittsburgh in 1928,  bringing him international acclaim at the age of 24.

Perhaps the most important, and influential figure in Salvador Dali's life was Gala.  The pair had met  in 1929, at Dali's Cadaques residence, where she and her then husband, poet Paul Eluard were visiting the artist.  Gala soon became Dali's mistress, and later, she became his wife, muse, and reason for living; she figures prominently in many of Dali's most inspired works.

While living in Paris, Dali joined forces with a group of artists who called themselves the surrealists, then led by former Dadaist André Breton. Other surrealist artists of note were Marcel Duchamp, and René Magritte.  The group lived their art, and sought to provoke the conservative artistic elite of the day with a series of manifestos, performances, and parodies of classical paintings such as LHOOQ, a bearded Mona Lisa painted by Duchamp.  

One of Dali's earliest works in the genre, and perhaps one of his most famous, is The Persistence of Memory.  Dali soon came to be regarded as the leader of the surrealist movement, but once again, the maverick genius refused to find comfort within a niche, and he would often disagree with his contemporaries, particularly with their strong political views, so he was tried, and expelled from the group in 1934, as the second world war burgeoned across Europe. 

Dali work during the early 1940s showed the artists preoccupation with religion, and science, perhaps, he found much inspiration within it's conflicting views.  This came to be known as his "classic" period.

As the war progressed, Dali and Gala had to leave their Europe, and move to America; by then, he had gained international recognition through a series of successful exhibits around the world, so he was welcomed with open arms by Hollywood, where he provided concepts and artwork for a dream sequence in Alfred Hitchcock's "Spellbound".  

Continued on the next page...

 

 

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