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Salvador Dali Art Gallery
The Spanish painter Salvador Dalí, b. May 11, 1904, d. Jan. 23, 1989, was a leader of surrealism. He studied (1921-26) at the San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid and associated with such future Spanish modernists as Federico Garcia Lorca and Luis Bunuel. His early work was influenced by the Italian futurists and by the metaphysical paintings of Giorgio de Chirico. Dalí, however, pointed to his Catalan sense of fantasy and his megalomania as his true motivating forces.
Moving to Paris, he frequented the Cafe Cyrano, the headquarters of the Parisian surrealists, and in 1929 first exhibited his own surrealist paintings. He studied the writings of Sigmund Freud and subsequently declared an ambition to "systemize confusion". Such paintings as Persistence of Memory, popularly known as Soft Watches (1931; Museum of Modern Art, New York City), and Sacrament of the Last Supper (1955; National Gallery, Washington, D.C.) have become widely known and part of the definitive record of 20th-century art. Displaying an early technical virtuosity, Dalí worked in several media, including jewelry, advertisements, beer-bottle design, ballet sets and costumes, and, in collaboration with Bunuel, the famous surrealist films Un Chien andalou (An Andalusian Dog, 1928) and L'Age d'or (The Age of Gold, 1931). His eccentric appearance--flowing cape, handlebar mustache, and popping eyes--made him recognized worldwide.
1996 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, Copyright 1996 Grolier Interactive, Inc.