Salvador Dali (May 11, 1904 – January 23, 1989)
Born in Figueres, Spain in 1904, Salvador Dali is known for his technical skill as a painter and the shocking quality of his imagination. His pioneering spirit was also accompanied by a reverence of tradition and a will for continuity. Dali consistently depicted the landscape of his homeland, one that became synonymous with the landscape of the imagination and of dreams. He forged in his long career a remarkable body of work, and his life demonstrates the richness of living creatively in every aspect of one’s existence.
Salvador Dali was the only surviving male child of a prosperous Catalan family that divided its time between Figueres and the coastal village of Cadaqués. Dali attended a prominent art academy in Madrid. From his earliest years as an artist he exhibited his work widely, lectured, and wrote. In 1929 he joined the Surrealist movement becoming its most visible and controversial member. That year, Dali met Gala Eluard when she visited him with her husband, poet Paul Eluard. Subsequently, Gala became Dali’s wife, his muse, primary model, and life-long obsession.
Dali broke with the Surrealist movement in 1939. He and Gala fled Europe in 1940 and spent the war years in the United States where he revised his strategy toward art, rejecting modernism and connecting with other traditions of art. In 1947 Dali and Gala returned to Spain and thereafter divided their time between Europe and the United States. In 1974, Dali organized a museum of his own collection of art, the Teatro-Museo Dali in Figueres. After the death of Gala in 1982, Dali’s health declined. His final years were spent in seclusion at his museum. Salvador Dali died on January 23, 1989 in the place of his birth.
1904 – Salvador Dali born May 11, in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain
1921 – Dali’s mother dies
1922 – Exhibits paintings in Barcelona, Spain, Attends art school in Madrid, Spain
1925 – First single artist exhibition in Barcelona
1926 – First trip to Paris, where he meets Pablo Picasso
1928 – Basket of Bread exhibited at the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh
1929 – Second trip to Paris, where he meets Andre Breton, founder of Surrealism, Makes film Un Chien Andalou with Luis Bunuel, Meets future wife, Gala Eluard Officially joins the Surrealist Movement
1930 – Settles in Port Lligat, Spain
1931 – Paints Persistence of Memory
1934 – Dali and Gala marry in civil ceremony Dali and Gala’s first trip to New York City
1936 – Flees Spanish Civil War, moves to Paris, Wears diving suit for lecture in London, England, Appears on cover of Time Magazine
1938 – Visits Sigmund Freud in London
1939 – Designs exhibit for New York World’s Fair
1940 – Dali and Gala escape from Europe during German occupation, seek refuge in United States lasting eight years, Paints first work in exile, Daddy Longlegs of the Evening – Hope!
1941 – First retrospective at Museum of Modern Art, New York
1942 – Publishes creative autobiography The Secret Life of Salvador Dali
1943 – Meets Eleanor and Reynolds Morse, lifelong friends and major collectors
1945 – Works with Alfred Hitchcock on film Spellbound
1946 – Works with Walt Disney on animated film Destino
1949 – Paints first large-sized religious canvas, Madonna of Port Lligat
1950 – Declares his art “Nuclear Mysticism”, Dali’s father dies
1958 – Dali and Gala remarry in a religious ceremony
1964 – Awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic, one of Spain’s highest decorations
1969 – Starts painting The Hallucinogenic Toreador, completed the following year
1971 – The Morses open their Dali collection in Beachwood, Ohio
1974 – Dali opens his own museum, the Teatro-Museo Dali, in Figueres, Spain
1982 – Dali Museum opens in St. Petersburg, Florida, Gala dies in her castle in Pubol, Spain, on June 10, King Juan Carlos confers the title of Marquis of Dali of Pubol on Dali because of the artist’s exceptional contribution to Spanish culture
1983 – Dali Foundation established in Figueres, Spain
1989 – Dali dies of heart failure in Figueres, Spain, on January 23