Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, Marquis of Dalí de Púbol (1904 – 1989) is one of the most celebrated artists in history. His fiercely technical, highly unusual paintings, sculptures, visionary films and life-size interactive art opened up a new generation to imaginative expression. From his personal life to his professional work, he always took great risks and proved how rich the world can be when you dare to embrace pure, boundless creativity.
Dalí was a skilled painter, famous for the striking and bizarre images in his Surrealist work. His painterly skills are attributed to the influence of Renaissance masters. His best-known work is The Persistence Of Memory (1931). Dalí’s expansive artistic repertoire included fashion, film, sculpture, set design, architecture, writing and photography. He collaborated with a range of artists in a variety of media.
Dalí attributed his “love of everything that is gilded and excessive, my passion for luxury and my love of oriental clothes” to an Arab lineage, claiming that his ancestors were descended from the Moors.
In 1922, Dalí attended the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando where he met poet Federico García Lorca, an openly gay man. Dalí had an affair with Lorca and a lifelong love and obsession with him after Lorca was murdered in 1936. Although Dalí was married to Elena Ivanovna Diakonova (known simply as Gala) from 1932-1984, he admitted that he was drawn to men, as long as they were androgynous. The couple were known to throw large orgies at their mansion. Their open marriage gave Gala the opportunity to have many affairs.
Dalí was highly imaginative, and enjoyed indulging in unusual, grandiose behavior. His eccentric manner and attention-grabbing antics drew more attention than his art, to the dismay of those who held his work in high esteem, and to the irritation of his critics.
Dalí is a major inspiration for Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, and most other modern Surrealists. Dalí’s nutty expressions and famous moustache have made him a Pop Culture Icon. He has been portrayed on film by Robert Pattinson in Little Ashes (2008), and by Adrien Brody in Midnight In Paris (2011).