Eccentric character and master painter, Salvador Dali is regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century.
In Figueres, Spain on May 11, 1904, Salvador Dali was the second son born to Salvador Dali y Cusi and Felipa Domenech. His older brother, also named Salvador, died just nine months before his birth.
As a child Dali did not excel in school, but he first showed signs of talent when he began painting and drawing at the young age of 10.
Ramon Pichots was Dali's first role model as a painter and influenced much of his early development and interest in art. He eventually attended Municipal Drawing School where he received formal art training, learned draftsmanship, painting, and engraving from Senor Nunez.
In support of the young Salvador’s talent, Dali’s father organized an exhibition of his son’s charcoal drawings in their family home. Most of the works done by Dalí as a young teenager were of the landscape surrounding Cadaqués and Figueras. At 13 years old, Dali was already regarded as an Impressionist painter.
One year later, in 1918, when Dali was only 14 years old, one of his drawings was published in a magazine called Patufet. Dali’s talent was also highly recognized in local newspapers.
In 1922, following the death of his mother, Dali was accepted into the Academia de San Fernando in Madrid. At the age of 18, Dalí had become a part of an emerging group of young elite intellectuals.
In 1923, Dali began secluding himself in his room, experimenting with cubism at a time when most of his colleagues were beginning to experiment with Impressionism – a style he had already mastered.
Dali was eventually expelled from the school in 1926 after refusing to take an examination in fine art theory. He argued that he knew more about the subject than did his peers, and so it would be unfair for him to be tested with all the rest.
Following his expulsion, Dali began to travel throughout Europe. While visiting Paris in 1928, Dali met Picasso in his studio. During the same year, Dali experimented with a vast selection of artistic materials, such as sand and pebbles.
In 1929, Dali’s preoccupation with the bizarre began to blossom when he joined the Surrealist group. The Surrealist's ideology was based on Freudian psychology, and was interested in the analysis of dreams as images from the subconscious.
This also marked the year that he made his first Surrealist film, Un Chien Andalou.
During the 1930’s, Dali created prints, such as L'Immaculee Conception and, that were published in many Surrealist books and periodicals. The Surrealist group, however, began to criticize his work as being controversial, and Dali was expelled from the group in 1934.
That same year, Dali married his longtime girlfriend in a civil ceremony in Paris. Dali referred to her as his muse and personal inspiration.
Dali and his wife fled France in 1948 during the German invasion of France, and traveled to the United States. There he gained much international fame as he advertised himself through television and publications. Dali’s artistic diversity was exemplified in America as he began to design jewelry, clothing, and perfume. He also began to work on animation for Walt Disney movies, but never finished the project.
In 1948, Dali returned to France as an internationally famous artist.
The bombing of Hiroshima inspired Dali to enter a religious phase with his art in the 1950’s, and in the following decade he experimented with Pop and Op Art, and Abstract Expressionism.
Throughout the 1970’s, Dali’s career progressed as he continued to paint and exhibit. Some of the paintings produced during this time were the The Hallucinogenic Toreador (1970) and Triomphe De L'Amour (1971).
In the years preceding his death, Dali suffered an extreme depression and lived as a recluse in his room adjacent to the Teatro Museum in Spain.
Salvador Dali died of heart failure on January 23, 1989. His body was buried in a crypt in the Teatri Museum, as he had willed.