Who hasn't been fascinated by the art of Salvador Dali. Dali was an enigmatic figure who figured prominantly in the Surrealist movement of the 1930s. But his very quirky personality soon transferred him into less of a fine artist in the original sense and more of a performance artist - one who transcended painting to become a filmmaker, jewelry designer, author and costumer.
Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dali i Domenech, was born on May 11, 1904, in Figueres, Spain. He attended the San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid and led to his first one-man show, held in Barcelona in 1925. He recieved international fame when three of his paintings were shown in the third annual Carnegie International Exhibition in Pittsburgh in 1928.
After this, Dali went to Paris, and joined the Paris Surrealist Group. It was in this same year that Dali met Gala Eluard when she visited him in Cadaques with her husband, the French poet Paul Eluard. She became Dali's lover, muse, business manager, and the source of inspiration for many of Dali's greatest works. They were married in 1934 at a civil ceremony and made their first trip to America. Dali emerged as a leader of the Surrealist movement and his painting, Persistence of Memory (1931) is still one of the best known surrealist works.
But, as war approached, the apolitical Dali clashed with the Surrealists and he was expelled during a trial conducted by the group in 1934. Although he did exhibit works in international surrealist exhibitions throughout the decade, asserting that: "le Surrealisme c'est moi" by 1940 he was ready to move into a new era, one that he termed "classic."
During World War II Dali and his wife, Gala, took refuge in the United States, returning after the war's end to Spain. His international reputation continued to grow, based as much on his flamboyance and flair for publicity as on his prodigious output of paintings, graphic works, and book illustrations; and designs for jewellrey, textiles, clothing, costumes, shop interiors, and stage sets. His writings include poetry, fiction, and a controversial autobiography, `The Secret Life of Salvador Dali'. He also produced two films - `An Andalusian Dog'(1928) and `The Golden Age'(1930) - in collaboration with Bunuel.