Born in Catalonia, Spain in 1904, Dali rose to become the most famous of the Surrealists - and his whole lifestyle embraced the very notion of art. Known for his eccentric dress and behaviour as much as his art, Dali studied art in Madrid where he met Federico García Lorca, experimented with Cubism and Dada, which would go on to greatly influence him. Dali was later expelled just before his final exams, but in Paris he met Picasso, whom had heard great things about Dali from fellow Catalan artist Joan Miro and made a number of works in the 1920’s influenced by both.
Dali began to develop his own style - a mixture of classical painting (even his iconic moustache was a homage to the 17th Century Spanish painter Diego Velázquez) and the most contemporary avant-garde styles. By 1929 Dali had officially joined the Surrealist group in Paris and met his future wife, Gala, who was to remain his muse for the rest of Dali’s career, as well as his manager.
Dali’s work took off in the USA in 1934 where ‘The Persistence of Memory’ (with its iconic ‘soft’ watches) met with a sensational response. However, ever the individual, Dali was met with criticism from the Surrealist group for remaining apolitical (even during the Spanish Civil War), being commercially minded and even apologising when some of his controversial costumes offended in the US. This led to his expulsion from the Surrealist group, to which Dali famously replied ‘I myself am surrealism’.
Despite being officially detached from the Surrealists, Dali’s career rise was meteoric - featuring on the cover of Time magazine in 1936. Dali drew no line between his visual art and his lifestyle - delivering lectures in a deep sea diving suit, wearing elaborate costumes, walking lobsters on a lead and pioneering performance art - live models wore fresh seafood during an exhibit at the New York World’s Fair.
During WW2, Dali and his wife Gala moved to the USA, and Dali’s time in NYC helped establish the city’s reputation in cutting edge art. During this time Dali expanded into jewellery and fashion design, furniture, stage sets and even shop window displays. This would prove to be inspirational to the later breed of New York artists - such as Andy Warhol. Dali is often acclaimed as the first innovator of Pop Art, having been the first known artist to paint a Coca-Cola bottle in a piece of fine art. Dali’s later years saw him living back in Spain, even during Franco’s regime - which saw criticism from many Spanish artists who remained in exile. Dali’s later work began focused around his Catholicism, mysticism, the Nuclear age and new science discoveries, but still courted controversy through his publicity stunts and outrageous behaviour. He even began a connection to a new audience - through chocolate tv adverts and designing the iconic ‘Chupa-Chups’ lollypop logo in 1969. The 1970s saw the decline of Dali, separated for many weeks at a time from his wife Gala, Dali felt he has lost his muse. This was compounded by the death of Gala in 1982. Dali deliberately de-hydrated himself in a possible suicide attempt and after years spent in his sick bed finally died of heart failure in 1989.
Dali’s work is filled with symbolism, and recurring motifs appear throughout, such eggs, elephants, snails, sea urchins and buttocks. We explore both the creation and expansion of the universe through his paintings, via seemingly unconnected everyday items and ancient mystical and spiritual symbols. Dali’s Art legacy is as much of the man as it is his paintings and we find his own personal world intertwined with his surrealist images in his work.
Dali left very few ‘official’ prints and lithographs and The Art Hound Gallery is delighted to stock rare and interesting Dali prints with a full provenance.