Salvador Domenec Felip Jacint Dalí Domenech was born 08:45 a.m. May 11, 1904 at number 20 Monturiolin street in the town of Figueres, Catalonia, Spain, the son of comfortable middle-class notary Salvador Dalí i Cusí. Dalí attended Municipal Drawing School, where he first received formal art training. In 1916 Dalí discovered modern painting on a summer vacation to Cadaques[?] with the family of Ramon Pichot[?], a local artist who made regular trips to Paris.
The next year Dalí's father organized an exhibition of his charcoal drawings in their family home. He had his first public exhibition at the Municipal Theater in Figueres in 1919. In 1921 his mother died of cancer, and his father married his aunt, which the younger Salvador somewhat resented.
In 1922 Dalí moved to Madrid, where he studied at the Academy of Arts (Academia de San Fernando[?]). Dalí already drew attention as an eccentric, wearing long hair and sideburns, coat, stockings and knee britches in the fashion style of a century earlier. What got him the most attention from his fellow students were his paintings where he experimented with Cubism (even though in these earliest Cubist works he arguably did not completely understand the movement, for his only information on Cubist art came from a few magazine articles and a cataloge given to him by Pichot, since there were no Cubist artists in Madrid at the time).
Dalí also experimented with Dadaism, which arguably influnced his work throughout his life. He became close friends with poet Federico García Lorca and with Luis Buñuel at this time; he would later become Lorca's lover. Dalí was expelled from the Academy in 1926 shortly before his final exams when he stated that no one on the faculty was competent enough to examine him.
That same year he made his first visit to Paris, where he met with Pablo Picasso, whom young Dalí revered; the older artist had already heard favorable things about Dalí from Juan Miró. Dalí did a number of works heavily influenced by Picasso and Miró for the next few years, as he groped towards developing his own style. Some trends in Dalí's work that would continue throughout his life were already evident in the 1920s, however: Dalí omnivorously devoured influences of all styles of art he could find and then produced works ranging from the most academic classicism to the most cutting edge avante garde, sometimes in separate works, and sometimes combined. Exhibitions of his works in Barcelona attracted much attention, and mixtures of praise and puzzled debate from critics.
1929 was an important year for Dalí. He collaborated with Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel on the short film Un Chien Andalou and met his muse and future wife, Gala Eluard[?], born Helena Deluvina Diakinoff, a Russian immigrant eleven years his senior who was then married to the surrealist poet Paul Eluard. In the same year, Dalí had important professional exhibitions and officially joined the Surrealist group in the Montparnasse quarter of Paris (although his work had already been heavily influenced by Surrealism for 2 years).
In 1934 Dalí and Gala, having lived together since 1929, were married in a civil ceremony.
In 1939, his fellow Surrealist artists officially expelled Dalí from the Surrealist group for political reasons; Marxism was the preferred doctrine in the movement, while Dalí declared himself to be an "Anarcho-Monarchist." Dalí replied to his expulsion by saying "Surrealism is me." Other Surrealists henceforth would speak of Dalí in the past tense, as if he were dead.
As war started in Europe, Dalí and Gala moved to the United States in 1940, where they lived for eight years. In 1942 he published his entertaining autobiography, The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí.
He spent his remaining years back in his beloved Catalonia. The fact that he chose to live in Spain while it was ruled by Fascist dictator Francisco Franco drew criticism from progressives and many other artists. Some think that the common dismissal of Dalí's later works has more to do with politics than the actual merits of the works themselves.
In 1960 Dalí began work on the Teatro-Museo Gala Salvador Dalí in his home town of Figueres; it was his largest single project and the main focus of his energy through 1974. He continued to make additions through the mid 1980s.
After Gala's death in 1982, Dalí lost much of his will to live. He deliberately dehydrated himself--possibly as a suicide attempt, possibly in an attempt to put himself into a state of suspended animation, as he had read that some microscopic animals could do.
He moved from Figueres to the castle in Pubol[?] which he had bought for Gala and was the site of her death. In 1984 a fire broke out in his bedroom under unclear circumstances--possibly a suicide attempt by Dalí, possibly a murder attempt by a greedy caretaker, possibly simple negligence by his staff-- but in any case Dalí was rescued and returned to Figueres where a group of his friends, patrons, and fellow artists saw to it that he was comfortable living his Theater-Museum for his final years.
Chronology of Notable Works by Salvador Dalí Dalí produced over 1,500 paintings in his career, in addition to producing illustrations for books, lithographs, designs for theater sets and costumes, a great number of drawings, dozens of sculptures, and various other projects. Below is a chronological sample of important and representative work.