Salvador Dali (1904-1989)

Spanish artist Salvador Dali was one of the most important painters of the 20th century, best known for his striking and bizarre surrealist images. Although best known for his paintings, including The Persistence of Memory, his most famous work commonly known as The Melting Clocks, Dali was also an accomplished photographer and sculptor and even dabbled in filmmaking.

After attending drawing school, Dali s first exhibition of his charcoal drawings was in 1917 in his father s home. He soon moved to Madrid, where he experimented with Cubism and the Dada style, gaining respect from his fellow students. He mastered painting at the San Fernando School of Fine Arts, but in 1926, Dali was expelled before final exams because of his claim that none of the faculty was competent enough to examine him. That same year, Dali met Pablo Picasso, whom he already revered and by whom his work was heavily influenced.

In 1929, Dali officially joined the surrealist group in the Montparsse quarter of Paris where he was hailed for his theories on accessing the subconscious for greater artistic creativity, called the Paranoiac-critical method.

Unanimously considered highly imaginative, Dali is criticized for gaining more attention for his eccentric personal life than for his artwork. Dali purposefully sought a celebrity status in order to publicize his work, drawing contempt from both those who loved his work and those who did not. Dal was a colorful and imposing presence, always donning a long cape, walking stick, haughty expression, and his infamous upturned waxed mustache. Dali famously said, Every morning upon awakening, I experience a supreme pleasure: that of being Salvador Dal.

Dali produced over 1,500 paintings during his lifetime, in additon to numerous illustrations for books, sculptures, lithographs, designs for theatre sets and costumes, drawings, and an animated cartoon for Walt Disney. The largest collection of Dali s works are at the Dali Museum in Catalonia, Spain.

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