Salvador Dali
1907 - 1989
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Salvador Dali was born Salvador Domenec Felip Jacint Dali Domenech on May 11, 1907, in Figueres, Spain - the same Catalan town where the Dali Museum is located today. He was a surrealist painter of bizarre dreamlike images and unforgettable landscapes - executed with a photographic attention to detail. His first major work was The Great Masturbator (1929) in which he was influenced by the writings of the Psychologist Sigmund Freud whose aim was to "agitate the sleep of mankind". Salvador Dali’s most famous work is The Persistence of Memory (1931). Dali had formulated his paranoiac-critical method, cultivating self-induced psychotic hallucinations in order to create art. "The difference between a madman and me" Dali said, "is that I am not mad!" Dali was part of the avant garde circle in Barcelona which included the poet Lorca. He touched on Cubism, Futurism, the metaphysical painting of Chiraco and was influenced by the Dutch Painters, especially by Jan Vermeer (painter of the Girl with a Pearl Earring). Later Dali was to be influenced by the Italian renaissance artists. In 1929 he moved to Paris and in the same year met Gala E'Luard who was to become his lover, muse and inspiration see the painting Galatea of the Spheres. Salvador Dali often clashed with other prominent members of the "official" Surrealist circle over the content of his paintings and his right-wing views; he was kicked out of the group in 1934. Andre Breton coined a brilliant anagram for Dali's name: Avida Dollars (which more or less translates to "Eager for Dollars"), Dali shot back "the only difference between me and the Surrealists is that I am a Surrealist." Salvador Dali was an artist of great talent and imagination. He admitted a love of doing unusual things to draw attention, so much so that his eccentric, theatrical manner sometimes overshadowed his artwork. He was however a creative genius and a showman. Not only did he work on surrealist films with Luis Brunel, but also designed clothes, stage sets and furniture.In 1940 Salvador Dali moved to New York and wrote The Secret Life of Salvador Dali 1942-1944. Salvador Dali died in 1989 at the age of 85, leaving his entire fortune and works to the Spanish state.