Artist Feature: Salvador Dali Artist Feature: Salvador Dali
Artist Feature: Salvador Dali

Artist Feature: Salvador Dali

Written by:
Wendy Bonham-Carter
Feb 20, 2024

The mind-melting, dreamy world of Salvador Dali enthralls and confuses audiences around the world. Dali’s paintings are full of dream images, unconscious symbols, and anxiety-inducing subjects and themes. His work often dealt with love, sex, obsession, fear, and mortality. He was also a fan of science and mathematics, and kept up with the latest discoveries in both fields, often incorporating them into his work. His most famous work, The Persistence of Memory, references Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. The melting pocket watches are meant to symbolize that time isn’t stable or linear, and that it cannot be totally understood or determined. Dali also dabbled in film, performance, sculpture, architecture, and writing, trying his hand at anything and everything he could.

Salvador Dali was born in a small town in Catalonia. His father was a notary and his mother stayed at home. Dali’s father was strict, but his mother encouraged his interest in art and drawing from a young age. Dali was sent to the Municipal Drawing School at Figueres, where he excelled. His father organized his first show in the family’s home. He began to hear about Modernist painting and saw a few Cubist works at a museum while traveling. Dali was hugely influenced, and moved to Madrid to continue his studies and search for Modernist artists to work with. Dali fell in with the 20th-century greats like Picasso, Miro, and Yves Tanguy, learning from each.

He started attracting international acclaim for his paintings, which were gradually becoming stranger and stranger. He joined the budding Surrealist group, then in its infancy in France. He drew inspiration from all over, angering many with his refusal to fall neatly into a style or category. He was a very controversial artist during his life, although he was well-known, especially in Spain. Dali’s patrons kept him, and his wife Gala, wealthy and stable during the 20th-century upheaval that frequently shook Spain. After Dali refused to denounce the dictator Franco, he was shunned by his Surrealist friends and artists all over the world.

Buy The Not Just Dead White Guys Coloring Book featuring Salvador Dali!

Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali | Art by Kat Sampson

Salvador Dali

B. 1904
D. 1989

“Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.”

Although Salvador Dali is one of the most famous artists of all time, his legacy is incredibly complicated. He was a true eccentric, showing up to a lecture in a Rolls Royce full of cauliflowers, throwing public fits when he was angry, and bringing an ocelot everywhere he went. Many accused Dali of selling out, allowing his art to become commercialized as he rose in fame, and worked for companies like Disney. An apologist for Hitler and advocate for the Franco regime, Dali’s self-proclaimed independent politics were revealed to be largely farcical. Largely, Dali valued money and security, which he was sure to have in Franco’s Spain, as a vocal ally of the regime. Contemporary fans of Dali’s work are left to wonder where that leaves them. 

Buy The Not Just Dead White Guys Coloring Book featuring Salvador Dali!

artist

In collaboration with Kat Sampson, we present The Not Just Dead White Guys coloring book with 24 vibrant portraits, showcasing diverse artists, both deceased and living. Half are contemporary artists, including  Salvador Dali who are shaping the art scene today, while the others are important historical figures. Join us to celebrate their diverse contributions and create a more inclusive art world!

 

 

Written by:
Wendy Bonham-Carter
Feb 20, 2024