Salvador Dali is one of the greatest painters of the twentieth century, who was one of the greatest representatives of surrealism and attracted attention with his unique way of dressing, behaviors, ideas, and sayings.
The life of Salvador Dali, who was born on May 11, 1904, in Figueres, Spain, still arouses great curiosity today.
Salvador Dali was named after his 3-year-old brother, who died shortly before his birth. It is known that Salvador Dali’s deceased brother also resembled Salvador like his twin. In fact, his family actually believed that his son was reborn since he looked so much like first Salvador and was born exactly nine months later.
When Dali was five years old, his family took him to the first Salvador tomb and shared their belief that he was the reincarnation of his deceased brother.
Salvador Dali also believed that this was true…
We have tried to summarize important and interesting notes from the life of one of the most interesting painters in the world, the famous painter Salvador Dali, the pioneer of surrealism, for you under the heading “12 Amazing Facts About Salvador Dali”.
As in one of his most famous works, “The Persistence of Memory”, I’m sure you will be amazed at the changes in Salvador Dali’s life and what he did during the passing time!
12 Surprising Facts About Salvador Dali’s Life
1- Salvador Dali Started Painting When He Was Just a Kid.
Dalí painted the Landscape Near Figueras, one of his earliest known works, in 1910, when he was about 6 years old.
The oil-on-postcard work depicts a scene in his Catalonia hometown and now hangs in the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida.
He also made one of his most iconic works, “The Persistence of Memory”, when he was just 27.
2- Salvador Dali Wasn’t A Successful Student.
Even from a young age, Dalí could not adapt to the traditional education system.
He was bright but easily distracted and was more interested in doodling than studying. He began his education at the age of 4 at a local public school in his hometown of Figueres, but only two years later his father transferred him to a French-speaking private school.
At his secondary school, as he wrote in his autobiography The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí, he liked to attract the attention of those around him by throwing himself down the stairs in front of his classmates and teachers.
When he graduated, his father insisted that he go to the School of Fine Arts in Madrid, on the grounds that if he had to be a painter, he had to at least be qualified to teach.
In this process, he was expelled from school not once, but twice. His first expulsion in 1923 was because of his role in student protests involving painter Daniel Vázquez Díaz, whom students felt had been unfairly denied a professorship in the painting department. Dalí returned to school the following year but faced expulsion again in 1926.
In his autobiography, Dalí explained that his second expulsion from school was the result of his refusal to take the oral exam, telling them, “I am infinitely more intelligent than these three professors, and I, therefore, refuse to be examined by them. I know this subject much too well.” This led to the end of his academic career.
3- The Surrealists Didn’t Want Salvador Dali.
While Dalí was considered a Surrealist, other Surrealists, many of whom were communists, tried to expel him from their movement early in his career over his fascist sympathies.
In 1934, the “father of Surrealism” writer André Breton invited members of the movement to his apartment in Paris. His order against the painter read: “Dalí having been found guilty on several occasions of counterrevolutionary actions involving the glorification of Hitlerian fascism, the undersigned propose that he be excluded from surrealism as a fascist element and combated by all available means.”
Breton and his supporters were offended by Dalí’s depiction of Lenin in his 1933 work The Enigma of William Tell as well as by the fascination he expressed for Hitler, who he later said: “turned him on.”
In addition, in his painting The Weaning of Furniture-Nutrition, he had painted a swastika on the armband of the nurse, this detail was an important detail that made the Surrealists right.
The incident didn’t mark the end of Dalí’s dalliances with fascism. He later became a supporter of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, and meeting with the general twice at his palace in Madrid, he personally delivered a portrait of Franco’s nephew to him.
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4- Salvador Dali Loved Cauliflower.
The painter once loaded a white Rolls Royce Phantom II with 1,100 pounds of cauliflower and drove that way from Spain to Paris in December 1955.
Later, in a speech he gave to an audience of 2000 people, “Everything ends up in the cauliflower!” he said.
The painter told journalist Mike Wallace in a nearly nonsensical interview in 1958 that the point of the stunt was that he had discovered ‘the logarithmic curve of cauliflower.’
5- He Designed a Logo For a Confectionery Company.
Salvador Dali designed the logo for Chupa Chups, the world’s largest lollipop producer.
6- Dalí Had A Technique Called The Paranoiac-Critical Method.
Dali pioneered what he called the ‘Paranoiac-Critical Method’ designed to help him access his subconscious.
One of the ways to access this insane state without drugs or alcohol was to stare at a fixed object and try to see something different within it—much like you might see a shape in the clouds, as the National Gallery of Victoria in Australia explains it.
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Or he would try to stay between sleep and wakefulness by dozing off with a spoon in his hand and a mixing bowl in his lap. When he fell asleep the spoon would fall into the bowl and he would wake up. According to the Dalí scholar Bernard Ewell; he would keep doing this to keep himself in a semi-conscious, dreamlike state.
Salvador Dali was influenced by Sigmund Freud for the invention of this method. Revealing unconscious symbols and thoughts, using dreams as a source of inspiration, and doing various exercises to reach them were part of this method.
In fact, this situation went beyond being a simple method for Dali and turned into a lifestyle.
7- Salvador Dali Was The Guest Of A Game Show.
Salvador Dalí has been a guest on various competition programs throughout his life. In 1957, he made an appearance on the show What’s My Line, serving as the unnamed guest whose career a panel of blindfolded guests had to identify.
Despite all the efforts of show host John Daly to give a clue about the artist, “Do you have anything to do with sports or any form of athletic endeavor?” He took his place in history as the most difficult guest of the contest by answering “yes” to every question, including.
He was ultimately identified by a final question about whether or not he had a “rather well-known” mustache.
Click here to watch the competition program in which Salvador Dali participated as a guest.
8- Dali Was Making His Secretaries Rich!
Dali did not pay his secretaries salary in money. He preferred to give his works to his secretaries. Artifacts valued over time had made their secretaries millionaires!
9-Dali Had An Unusual Marriage.
When Salvador Dali met his future wife Gala in 1929, Gala was married to the French surrealist poet Paul Eluard.
Dali was 25 at the time, Gala was 10 years older than him.
Dalí met Eluard in Paris, inviting him and several other artists to visit him at his home in Cadaqués over the summer. Eluard brought Gala and their daughter Cecile there, and there Gala and Dalí fell in love with each other.
Gala was in an ‘open marriage’ with her husband and they divorced shortly after they have been feeling in love with Dali. However, her relationship with her ex-husband continued.
In 1934, Dali and Gala got married, and they kept an open marriage and continued to on a relationship with other people.
Gala became Dalí’s muse, portrait model, and business manager.
Dalí bought Gala a centuries-old Catalan castle in the small town of Púbol in 1969.
10- Salvador Dali Made a Cartoon for Walt Disney: Destino.
In 1946, Salvador Dali and Walt Disney planned to make an animated film together. This short film, called Destino, was terminated by Disney and its partner RKO while the project was halfway through because they thought they would probably never make any money.
Later, Walt Disney regretted this decision, and Disney’s nephew Roy Disney, who was the head of the animation department of the company at that time, decided to revive the project in 1999.
The animators at the Walt Disney Studio in Paris carefully studied Dalí’s original storyboard to create a film faithful to Salvador Dali’s vision.
The 6-minute short film was released on DVD in 2003.
Destino was a six-minute film set to a Spanish song with no dialogue and no clear storyline.
The subject of the animated film; A green-eyed ballerina was on a journey among strange objects in a desert landscape in a dreamlike atmosphere.
Click here to watch the Destina animated film made by Salvador Dali and released on DVD by Walt Disney in 2003.
11- Salvador Dali Published A Cookbook.
Dalí and Gala were known for organizing elaborate, bizarre dinner parties.
In the first, at a fundraiser in Monterey, California, in 1941, guests such as Bob Hope and Alfred Hitchcock were asked to dress like their dreams. (Gala wore a unicorn head.)
Dalí borrowed monkeys from the San Francisco zoo for the evening, and guests were served fish in satin shoes, followed by live frogs. The event was so generous that; instead of raising money for refugee artists as intended, it had actually become an event where Dali lost money.
In 1973, Dalí released his own cookbook, Les Diners de Gala, a guide to Surrealist cooking featuring some of Dalí’s favorite motifs, such as snails, lobster, and eggs. In keeping with the often sexual themes of his paintings, he also included recipes for an ‘aphrodisiac’ course.
The cookbook was republished by TASCHEN (an art book publisher in Germany founded by Benedikt Taschen) in 2016.
In 1977, his book on wine The Wines of Gala was republished by the same publisher the following year.
12- Salvador Dali Built His Own Museum.
In the 1960s, the mayor of Dalí’s hometown of Figueres asked the artist to donate a piece to the city’s art museum, the Museu de l’Empordà. Instead, he declared that he would donate an entire museum. He began refurbishing the Figueres Municipal Theatre, which was almost completely destroyed during the Spanish Civil War, turning it into the Salvador Dalí Theater-Museum.
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The museum, with its Dalí-designed facade decorated with sculptures of giant eggs and bread rolls, officially opened in 1974, but Dalí continued to expand it up until his death.
He also lived there for the last years of his life. After his castle in Púbol was damaged by an electrical fire, he moved to the Galatea Tower (named after Gala), an annex of the museum, in 1984 and largely retired from social life until his death in 1989. After he died, he was buried under the theater stage.