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Chapter 1

Salvidor Dali

Salvador Dali was born in 1904 on May 11th in a small town of Figueras in

Northern Spain. His mother was Roman Catholic and father an atheist. Salvador was

named after his recently decease brother Salvador. Dali was born to money because

his father Don Salvador was well respected notary and he also had a-lot of connections

to the art community. This provided Salvador with many opportunities to grow as a

painter. His father introduced him to Ramon Pichot who was a well renowned art

teacher at the time who was associated with Pablo Piccaso. At the age of ten he

received art lessons from Pichot and began to peruse art as a career.

In pursuit of this goal, Dali began to study at Royal Academy of Art in Madrid in

1922. While there Dali began experimenting with unique styles of painting such as

divisionism and futurism. The experimentation of these new styles set Salvador apart

from the rest of the student body. While in school Salvador was inspired by Vela’zquez,

Goya, El Greco, Durer, Leonardo and Michelangelo. It was hard for Dali to conform to

any part of the school system. He was expelled twice in 1926. Once because he never

took the final examinations due to the fact that he thought he was more qualified than

those who would have examined him. His second expulsion he incited a rebellion

amongst the students at his university.

While in school Dali’s career began to take off. In 1924 his first published art

work was illustrations for a book titled “Les Bruixes de Llers” which translates to “Witch
of Llers.” This book was written by a friend, school mate and poet Carles Fages de

Climent. A year later his first legitimate European show debuted in Dalmau, Barcelona.

Artwork at the exhibition consisted of oil paintings and two renditions of his sister.

Soon after his second expulsion, in 1928, Dali went to Paris to meet Spanish

painters, Pablo Piccaso and Joan Miro. This encounter inspired Dali to find his personal

style which is the world of unconscious that is revealed during our dreams. Sigmond

Freud’s research on the human mind also crafted Dali’s personal unique style of

surrealism. Popularity of Dali’s cutting edge surrealistic ideas began to spread among

the art community. Catching the attention of director Luis Bunuel. Lui Bunuel

proceeded to ask Dali to co-direct the film called “Un Chien Andlaou.” The film was

about simulating a dream which Dali jumped at the opportunity.

Consequently, this film caused Dali to come into the spotlight. His popularity

began to grow and the attention of the art community was caught. Andre Brenton, the

president of the surrealist art group was in thralled with Dali as well. Dali was initiated

into the surrealist group in 1930 which marked the beginning of his surrealistic

movement. This was a very exclusive club full of extremists who believed surrealism

was a way of life. This appealed to Dali and he began to excel in the club. He

established himself as the principle figure or ring leader. This made Andre Brenton bitter

and upset who in turn began to cause problems for Dali. In 1936 Dali dressed up in a full

metal diver suite and said “I am diving deeply in the human mind.” This took place at the

London International Surrealist Exhibition.


In addition to gaining the attention of Andre and the art community, a Russian

Immigrant named Gala began to show an interest in Dali. Soon Gala became the most

important part of Dali’s career. She was his companion, muse and sexual partner. Gala

was the center piece of many of his pieces of art because he was never sexually active

before Gala. This inspired Dali to have a more sexual nature into his artwork.

Consequently the sexual nature of Dali’s new paintings perturbed his father.

Dali’s father actively spoke out against his relationship which caused Dali to paint the

picture “Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ” which had a very sexual connotation. His father

asked him to rescind the painting and Dali refused thus being thrown out of his home in

1929. There after, Salvador Dali masturbated in a condom upon giving the used condom

to his father he said “ take that I owe you nothing now.” In 1932 Gala left her husband

for Dali and soon after were married in a catholic ceremony.

Coinciding with their marriage, Dali’s career began to take off. He painted the

“Persistence of Memory” in 1931 which is one of his most famous paintings. Paintings

such as this caused his popularity to soar. In fact, Pablo Piccaso loaned him five

hundred dollars to go do his first show in the United States in 1933. The exhibition was

held in New York and displayed pieces of art such as the Persistence of Memory. While

in America, Salvador is accused by Andre Breton, the president of surrealism, that he is

money-hungry and a hitlerist.

Moreover, Dali is faced with a trial upon his return from America. This trial was to

determine whether or not he should still belong to the surrealist group. Dali’s charges

were that he had become greedy and had embraced that fascist ideals which directly
opposed the groups idealistic way of thinking. In 1934, Dali was expelled from the

surrealist group and upon his expulsion he said, “I, myself and surrealism.” Dali later

acquires the nickname Avida Dollars, which means greed.

Dali decides to move to America permanently in 1940. He made the decision to

move because he was banished from the surrealist group and felt he had no other ties

to europe, and World War II was about to begin. While in America, Dali acquires a

religious and political lens to his art. He also started to paint interpretations of Dante’s

Inferno and other renditions of different religious ideals. Dali’s artwork began to be

pointed at what Americans wanted to see, not what he was feeling. He started to paint

only to make a living, not to express himself. Sadly he was only selling the ‘Dali brand’ in

his later years.

In conclusion Dali Defined the surrealist movement, taking it to higher highs than

it could ever have dreamed of. He delved into the unconscious dreaming mind and

painted it. He became a grand master at painting with the paradoxical method that he

invented. He was business man, nick-named Avida Dollars for how greedy he became

about money. In the words of Salvador Dali “I myself am Surrealism”