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.
The Dali Museum