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Artists painting and art lovers

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Dalí's artistic repertoire included painting, graphic arts, film, sculpture, design and photography, at times in collaboration with other artists. He also wrote fiction, poetry, autobiography, essays and criticism. Major themes in his work include dreams, the subconscious, sexuality, religion, science and his closest personal relationships. To the dismay of those who held his work in high regard, and to the irritation of his critics, his eccentric and ostentatious public behavior often drew more attention than his artwork.[4][5] His public support for the Francoist regime, his commercial activities and the quality and authenticity of some of his late works have also been controversial.[6] His life and work were an important influence on other Surrealists, pop art and contemporary artists such as Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst.[7][8]

Dalí attended the Municipal Drawing School at Figueres in 1916 and also discovered modern painting on a summer vacation trip to Cadaqués with the family of Ramon Pichot, a local artist who made regular trips to Paris.[12] The next year, Dalí's father organized an exhibition of his charcoal drawings in their family home. He had his first public exhibition at the Municipal Theatre in Figueres in 1918,[24] a site he would return to decades later. In early 1921 the Pichot family introduced Dalí to Futurism. That same year, Dalí's uncle Anselm Domènech, who owned a bookshop in Barcelona, supplied him with books and magazines on Cubism and contemporary art.[25]

Those paintings by Dalí in which he experimented with Cubism earned him the most attention from his fellow students, since there were no Cubist artists in Madrid at the time.[35] Cabaret Scene (1922) is a typical example of such work. Through his association with members of the Ultra group, Dalí became more acquainted with avant-garde movements, including Dada and Futurism. One of his earliest works to show a strong Futurist and Cubist influence was the watercolor Night-Walking Dreams (1922).[36] At this time, Dalí also read Freud and Lautréamont who were to have a profound influence on his work.[37]

In 1929, Dalí collaborated with Surrealist film director Luis Buñuel on the short film Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog). His main contribution was to help Buñuel write the script for the film. Dalí later claimed to have also played a significant role in the filming of the project, but this is not substantiated by contemporary accounts.[56] In August 1929, Dalí met his lifelong muse and future wife Gala,[57] born Elena Ivanovna Diakonova. She was a Russian immigrant ten years his senior, who at that time was married to Surrealist poet Paul Éluard.[58]

In works such as The First Days of Spring, The Great Masturbator and The Lugubrious Game Dalí continued his exploration of the themes of sexual anxiety and unconscious desires.[59] Dalí's first Paris exhibition was at the recently opened Goemans Gallery in November 1929 and featured eleven works. In his preface to the catalog, André Breton described Dalí's new work as "the most hallucinatory that has been produced up to now".[60] The exhibition was a commercial success but the critical response was divided.[60] In the same year, Dalí officially joined the Surrealist group in the Montparnasse quarter of Paris. The Surrealists hailed what Dalí was later to call his paranoiac-critical method of accessing the subconscious for greater artistic creativity.[12][14]

Dalí's first solo London exhibition was held at the Alex, Reid, and Lefevre Gallery the same year. The show included twenty-nine paintings and eighteen drawings. The critical response was generally favorable, although the Daily Telegraph critic wrote: "These pictures from the subconscious reveal so skilled a craftsman that the artist's return to full consciousness may be awaited with interest."[80]

In January 1938, Dalí unveiled Rainy Taxi, a three-dimensional artwork consisting of an automobile and two mannequin occupants being soaked with rain from within the taxi. The piece was first displayed at the Galerie Beaux-Arts in Paris at the Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme, organized by André Breton and Paul Éluard. The Exposition was designed by artist Marcel Duchamp, who also served as host.[86][87][88]

In 1948, Dalí and Gala moved back into their house in Port Lligat, on the coast near Cadaqués. For the next three decades, they would spend most of their time there, spending winters in Paris and New York.[5][61] Dalí's decision to live in Spain under Franco and his public support for the regime prompted outrage from many anti-Francoist artists and intellectuals. Pablo Picasso refused to mention Dalí's name or acknowledge his existence for the rest of his life.[122] In 1960, André Breton unsuccessfully fought against the inclusion of Dalí's Sistine Madonna in the Surrealist Intrusion in the Enchanter's Domain exhibition organized by Marcel Duchamp in New York.[123] Breton and other Surrealists issued a tract to coincide with the exhibition denouncing Dalí as "the ex-apologist of Hitler... and friend of Franco".[124]

In 1968, Dalí bought a castle in Púbol for Gala, and from 1971 she would retreat there for weeks at a time, Dalí having agreed not to visit without her written permission.[61] His fears of abandonment and estrangement from his longtime artistic muse contributed to depression and failing health.[5]

Dalí became interested in film when he was young, going to the theater most Sundays.[190] By the late 1920s he was fascinated by the potential of film to reveal "the unlimited fantasy born of things themselves"[191] and went on to collaborate with the director Luis Buñuel on two Surrealist films: the 17-minute short Un Chien Andalou (1929) and the feature film L'Age d'Or (1930). Dalí and Buñuel agree that they jointly developed the script and imagery of Un Chien Andalou, but there is controversy over the extent of Dalí's contribution to L'Age d'Or.[192] Un Chien Andalou features a graphic opening scene of a human eyeball being slashed with a razor and develops surreal imagery and irrational discontinuities in time and space to produce a dreamlike quality.[193] L'Age d'Or is more overtly anti-clerical and anti-establishment, and was banned after right-wing groups staged a riot in the Parisian theater where it was being shown.[194] Summarizing the impact of these two films on the Surrealist film movement, one commentator has stated: "If Un Chien Andalou stands as the supreme record of Surrealism's adventures into the realm of the unconscious, then L'Âge d'Or is perhaps the most trenchant and implacable expression of its revolutionary intent."[195]

After World War II, Dalí became one of the most recognized artists in the world, and his long cape, walking stick, haughty expression, and upturned waxed mustache became icons of his brand. His boastfulness and public declarations of his genius became essential elements of the public Dalí persona: "every morning upon awakening, I experience a supreme pleasure: that of being Salvador Dalí".[235]

Dalí's life and work have been an important influence on pop art, other Surrealists, and contemporary artists such as Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst.[7][8] He has been portrayed on film by Robert Pattinson in Little Ashes (2008), and by Adrien Brody in Midnight in Paris (2011). The Salvador Dalí Desert in Bolivia and the Dalí crater on the planet Mercury are named for him.[246][247] 041b061a72


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