Salvador Dalí was born into a middle-class family on May 11, 1904, in Figueres, and passed away on January 23, 1989, at the age of 85.
He was essentially a self-taught artist, despite having studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid for three years, from which he was expelled for indiscipline in 1923 at the age of 19.
In 1928 he moved to Paris, where he was in contact with the surrealist movement. In 1929 he joined the Surrealist Group, which had been founded by the writer and poet André Breton. The surrealists were interested in the human subconscious and Freud’s theories of dreams, psychoanalysis, and hypnosis.
Politically, the surrealist movement had more or less Marxist and Communist ideas.
Around 10 years later, Salvador Dalí was also expelled from the Surrealist Group because they thought that his provocative behavior could damage the group. The friendship with Breton was also broken because of his unclear political ideas (it’s said that he never supported Franco and his dictatorship directly, but he wasn’t critical of him either).
The most important person in his life was his wife, Gala. He met her in 1929 when he was 25. She was 10 years older and was married to the French surrealist poet Paul Éluard. Dalí and Gala felt a strong attraction right from the start, and they would be together for the rest of their lives. Gala would be his muse, lover, business manager, and life partner. Without the strong influence of Gala, Dalí would never have reached the level of glory that he did.
The couple lived in New York from 1940 to 1956, where they took refuge from Europe’s war. In those years, he enjoyed his popularity and the pleasures that his success brought him. He was very prolific and experimented with nearly all known techniques, from sculpture to literature to painting.
He also designed bizarre objects (the receiver of a telephone in the shape of a lobster, a sofa in the form of huge lips…), wrote some books, and collaborated with the Spanish movie director Luis Buñuel, Walt Disney, and the Marx Brothers, among others.