A prolific and controversial Spanish artist, Salvador Dali’s name is synonymous with the Surrealist art movement. His cutting edge, avant-garde style, which included prints, drawings, sculpture, book illustration, and theater set designs, puzzled and intrigued the art world. Along with fellow Spaniards Pablo Picasso and Miro, he is considered one of the greatest masters of twentieth century art. A skilled draftsman, he was best known for the striking and bizarre images that were executed in a nearly photo-realistic style. His best-known work, The Persistence of Memory, was completed in 1931. Sometimes called Soft Watches or Melting Clocks, the painting suggests Albert Einstein’s theory that time is relative and not fixed. It is Dali’s personal use of the world of the unconscious, based on the theories of Freud that made him famous and recurring images of burning giraffes, melting watches and other dream-like images became the artist’s surrealist trademarks.
His artistic repertoire also included film, fashion, and photography. He collaborated with Walt Disney and Alfred Hitchcock, Elsa Schiaparelli, Christian Dior, Man Ray, Brassaï, and Cecil Beaton, among others.
When World War II started in Europe, Dalí and his wife, Gala moved to the United States where he went on to become a success and a celebrity, using his attention seeking comments and eccentric appearance to attract media attention (and pave the way for media savvy artists like Pop Artist Andy Warhol). In 1948 he and Gala returned to his homeland where Dali spent his remaining years. Salvador Dali was a wealthy artist during his lifetime and his works continue to fetch increasingly high prices in art auction houses throughout the world today.
“Drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility of cheating. It is either good or bad.”
“Progressive art can assist people to learn not only about the objective forces at work in the society in which they live, but also about the intensely social character of their interior lives. Ultimately, it can propel people toward social emancipation.”
“One day it will have to be officially admitted that what we have christened reality is an even greater illusion than the world of dreams.”
“At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since.”
“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”
“The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant.”
“It is not necessary for the public to know whether I am joking or whether I am serious, just as it is not necessary for me to know it myself.”
“I do not paint a portrait to look like the subject, rather does the person grow to look like his portrait.”
“The only difference between me and a madman is that I’m not mad.”
“I don’t do drugs. I am drugs.”
“The secret of my influence has always been that it remained secret.”
“Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.”
“Mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature. Never try to correct them. On the contrary: rationalize them, understand them thoroughly. After that, it will be possible for you to sublimate them.”
“I am not strange, I am just not normal.”
“You have to systematically create confusion, it sets creativity free. Everything that is contradictory creates life.”
“Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.”
“The problem with the youth of today is that one is no longer part of it”.
“The only thing that the world will not have enough of is exaggeration.”
“Being born is like being kidnapped. And then sold into slavery.”
“I shall be so brief that I have already finished.”
– Salvador Dali (1904-1989)
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