Dalí, Salvador

DALÍ, Salvador

Salvador Dali is considered as the greatest artist of the surrealist art movement and one of the greatest masters of art of the twentieth century, and Galerie Michael is proud to offer an array of original Salvador Dali etchings and paintings. During the artist’s lifetime, the public got a picture of an eccentric paranoid. His personality caused a lot of controversy. After his death in 1989 his name remained in the headlines. But this time it was not funny at all. The art market was shaken by reports of great numbers of fraudulent Dali prints. What’s all behind it? Salvador Dali was born as the son of a prestigious notary in the small town of Figuera in Northern Spain. His talent as an artist showed at an early age and Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dali received his first drawing lessons when he was ten years old. His art teachers were a then well known Spanish impressionist painter, Ramon Pichot and later an art professor at the Municipal Drawing School. In 1923 his father bought his son his first printing press. Dali began to study art at the Royal Academy of Art in Madrid. He was expelled twice and never took the final examinations. His opinion was that he was more qualified than those who should have examined him. In 1928 Dali went to Paris where he met the Spanish painters Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro. He established himself as the principal figure of a group of surrealist artists grouped around Andre Breton, who was something like the theoretical “schoolmaster” of surrealism. Years later Breton turned away from Dali accusing him of support of fascism, excessive self-presentation and financial greediness. By 1929 Dali had found his personal style that should make him famous – the world of the unconscious that is recalled during our dreams. The surrealist theory is based on the theories of the psychologist Dr. Sigmund Freud. Recurring images of burning giraffes and melting watches became the surrealist trademarks in Salvador Dali paintings. The great craftsmanship allowed him to execute his work in a nearly photorealistic style. It is evident that the artist was a great admirer of the Italian Renaissance painter Raphael. Meeting Gala was the most important event in the artist’s life and decisive for his future career. She was a Russian immigrant and ten years older than Dali. When he met her, she was married to Paul Eluard, however Gala decided to stay with Dali. She became his companion, his muse, his sexual partner, his model in numerous art works and his business manager. For him she was everything. Most of all Gala was a stabilizing factor in his life. And she managed his success in the 1930s with exhibitions in Europe and the United States. In 1931, Dali 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 watches are a rejection of the assumption that time is rigid or deterministic. These iconic limp watches would continue to be one of Dali’s most prevalent symbols, representing Dali’s eternity. This was sold to an anonymous collector, and in 1934 was donated to the Modern Museum of Art in New York. While the majority of the Surrealist artists had become increasingly associated with leftist politics, Dali maintained an ambiguous position on the subject of the proper relationship between politics and art. Dali insisted that surrealism could exist in an apolitical context and refused to explicitly denounce fascism. Later, in 1934, Dali was subjected to a ‘trial’, in which he was formally expelled from the Surrealist group. Dali however retorted, “I myself am surrealism”. Gala was legally divorced from her husband in 1932. In 1934 Dali and Gala were married in a civil ceremony in Paris and in 1958 in church after Gala’s former husband had died in 1952. However from around 1965 on, the couple was seen less frequently together. But Gala continued to manage Dali’s business affairs. In 1933 Salvador Dali had his first one-man show in New York. One year later he visited the U.S. for the first time supported by a loan of $500 from Pablo Picasso. To evade World War II, Dali chose the U.S.A. as his permanent residence in 1940, where he had a series of spectacular exhibitions and retrospectives. Many original Salvador Dali etchings and paintings are still showcased in exhibitions today. Besides creating a number of great paintings, Dali caused the attention of the media by playing the role of a surrealist clown. He made a lot of money and was contemptuously nicknamed Avida Dollars (greedy for dollars) by Andre Breton. Dali became the darling of the American High Society. Celebrities like Jack Warner or Helena Rubinstein gave him commissions for portraits, all dying to get their hands on original Salvador Dali etchings and paintings. His art works became a popular trademark and besides painting he pursued other activities – jewelry and clothing designs for Coco Chanel or film making with Alfred Hitchcock. In 1938, Dali met Sigmund Freud and sketched his portrait. Freud would continue to inspire Dali’s work and passion for surrealist exploration. In 1948 Dali and Gala returned to Europe, spending most of their time either in their residence in Lligat/Spain or in Paris/France or in New York. Dali developed a lively interest in science, religion and history. He integrated things into his art that he had picked up from popular science magazines. Another source of inspiration were the great classical masters of painting like Raphael, Velasquez or the French painter Ingres. The artist commented his shift in style with the words: “To be a surrealist forever is like spending your life painting nothing but eyes and noses.” n 1958 the artist began his series of large sized history paintings. He painted one monumental painting every year during the summer months in Lligat. One of the most famous paintings of this series, The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus, can be seen at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg in Florida. The artist’s late works combine more than ever his perfect and meticulous painting technique with his fantastic and limitless imaginations. Salvador Dali is the only known artist who had two museums dedicated exclusively to his work at lifetime. In 1980 Dali was forced to retire due to palsy, a motor disorder that caused a permanent trembling and weakness of his hands. He was not able to hold a brush any more. The fact that he could not follow his vocation and passion of painting and the news of Gala’s death in 1982 left him with deep depressions. After Gala’s death he moved to Pubol, a castle, he had bought and decorated for Gala. In 1984, when he was lying in bed, a fire broke out and he suffered sever burns. Two years later, a pacemaker had to be implanted. Towards the end of his life, Dali lived in the tower of his own museum where he died on January 23, 1989 from heart failure. Visit Galerie Michael to see original Salvador Dali etchings and paintings up close, and make them part of your own fine art collection.

Art Institute of Chicago Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University, Illinois Caixa Galicia Foundation, Spain Canton Museum of Art, Ohio Chi-Mei Museum, Taiwan Cleveland Dali Museum, Ohio Contemporary Art Museum, Madrid, Spain De Young Museum, San Francisco DePaul University Museum, Chicago Folkwang Museum, Germany Fukuoka Art Museum, Japan Gala-Salvadore Dali Foundation, Spain Glasgow Museums, Scotland Guggenheim Museum, New York Guilford College Art Gallery, North Carolina Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University, Wisconsin Madison Museum of Fine Art, Inc., Georgia Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Minneapolis Insitute of Arts, Minnesota Harvard University Art Museums, Massachusetts Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C Kresge Art Museum at Michigan State University Kunsthaus Zurich Legion of Art, San Francisco Modern Art Museum, New York Modern Art Museum, Paris Montana Museum of Art and Culture, Missoula Museo del Territorio Biellese, Biella, Italy Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto (MART), Italy Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Trento, Italy Museo Patio Herreriano de Valladolid, Spain Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania Queens Museum of Art, New York Reina Sofía National Museum, Madrid Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany Museum of Modern Art, New York National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Oglethorpe University Museum, Georgia Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium Catalogue Salvador Dali in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Salvadore Dali Museum, Florida San Diego Museum of Art, California San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Germany Stockholm Modern Museum, Sweden Tate Gallery, London, UK Teatro-Museo Dali, Figueras, Spain Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid Von der Heydt-Museum, Wuppertal, Germany Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Connecticut Washington D.C. National Gallery

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