Our Artists

Salvador Dalì

Great provocateur, eccentric personality, genius.....these are just some of the descriptions of Dali.  His personality and famous media appearances have taken up as much space in the collective memory as his works themselves, which profoundly marked the 20th century.


His early career

Dalì began to paint very early on (portraits, still life and seascapes that he continued to paint throughout his career). His influences included Impressionism, Cubism and the Futurist movement. 

In 1920, he joined the San Fernando School of Fine Art in Madrid where he perfected his knowledge of sculpture, drawing and painting.  He was expelled in 1926 for having encouraged his friends to rebel against a teacher whom he considered to be incompetent.

In 1925, his first personal exhibition was organised in a gallery in Barcelona.

In Paris in 1926, Dalì met Picasso for whom he had great admiration and with whom he remained in contact throughout his life (see his Letters to Picasso).

Dali and Surrealism

Through Joan Mirò, Dalì met André Breton and officially joined the Surrealists.  His first individual exhibition took place in Paris in 1929 and, in 1930, he took part in the first Surrealist exhibition in the United States. 

Dalì’s technique was based on the theory of critical paranoia that he defined himself as a “spontaneous method of irrational knowledge, based on the interpretation and critique of delusional phenomena”.

Dali’s contribution to the surrealist movement was also seen in the cinema, especially in his collaboration with  Luis Buñuel. They wrote two films together: Un Chien andalou, which attracted the attention of surrealists when it was shown in Paris in 1929, then Âge d’or which caused a scandal in 1930.


Avida Dollars

Dalì was expelled from the Surrealist movement by André Breton in 1939.  Afterwards, Breton nicknamed him Avida Dollars (anagram of Salvador Dalì) as a criticism of his attitude to art and money at a time when Dali’s works were enjoying great commercial success in the United States, to where he had moved.  
Dalì stayed in the United States until 1948.  He worked in a variety of domains: he designed scenery and costumes for ballets, illustrated books, set up a partnership with the photographer Philippe Halsman (Dalì Atomicus, Dalì’s Mustach, Voluptas Mors) and designed scenery for one of Alfred Hitchcock’s films (Spellbound 1948).

The eccentric genius

From 1950 onwards, Dalì directed his paintings towards religious and holy themes, reinterpreting religious iconography.  Heavily inspired by science and scientific progress, he included this notion in his painting.  He also worked on three-dimensional images and holograms.    
In 1974, Dalì opened the Teatre Museu Dalì in his birthplace Figueras.  The event was accompanied by major retrospective exhibitions in Paris and London. 

From then on, Dalì shared his time between the United States, France and Spain, making more and more appearances and provocative statements.  

In 1983, he painted his last work La queue d’aronde.


See the “Catalogue raisonné” of paintings by Dalì set up by the Gala-Salvador Dalì Foundation (1910-1939)

See Dalì’s sculptures on the Espace Dalì Montmartre website

See Dalì’s works at the Dalì Museum, Saint Petersburg (Florida, United States)

Useful links

The Gala-Salvador Dalì Foundation
Dalì Museum, Saint Petersburg, Florida, Etats-Unis
L’Espace Dalì Montmartre, Paris
The Dalì photo library
Pompidou Centre teaching document on Surrealism

Salvador Dalì 's products at Nouvelles Images

> Prints and posters

Prints and posters Meditative Rose Prints and posters The Temptation of St. Anthony Prints and posters Person at the Window Prints and posters Person at the Window

Nationality(ies) : Spanish
Born on : 11/05/1904
Died on : 23/01/1989
Profile : Designer, Painter, Sculptor
Artistic current(s) : Surrealism
Theme(s) covered : Landscapes - Nature, Portraits - Characters