Salvador Dalí was born Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dalí y Domenech in the Catalan town of Figueras, Spain, on May 11, 1904. In 1921 he enrolled in the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid, where he became a friend of Federico García Lorca and Luis Buñuel. His first solo show was held in 1925 at the Galeries Dalmau in Barcelona, in the same year he began his collaboration with L’Amis de les Arts, a Barcelona review. In 1926 Dalí was expelled from the Academia and the following year he visited Paris where he met Pablo Picasso. He collaborated with Buñuel on the film Un Chien Andalou in 1929. During the same year he returned to Paris and was introduced by Joan Miró to the Surrealist group, where he met René Magritte, Tristan Tzara and Paul Éluard. Later that summer in Cadaqués, Dalí would meet Helena Éluard, better known as Gala, whom he would eventually marry in 1934. About this time Dalí produced his first Surrealist publications and illustrated the works of Surrealist writers and poets.
Dalí’s first solo show in the United States took place at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York in 1933. Toward the end of the decade he made several trips to Italy to study the art of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, also meeting Sigmund Freud in 1938. In 1939, Dalí was expelled from the Surrealists for his political conservatism, and the following year fled to the United States, where he worked on theatrical productions, wrote, illustrated books, painted, and was considered from audience and media as one of the most representative artists of the European art scene. A major retrospective of his work opened in 1941 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and traveled throughout the United States. In 1942 Dalí published his autobiography, The secret life of Salvador Dalí, and began exhibiting at M. Knoedler and Co. in New York. He returned to Europe in 1948, settling in Port Lligat, Spain, where he would spend the majority of the rest of his life, interspersed with regular trips to Paris and New York. In 1954 a Dalí retrospective was held at the Palazzo Pallavicini in Rome and in 1964 an important retrospective of his work was shown in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Kyoto.
He continued painting, writing, and illustrating during the 1960s and in 1974, his native town of Figueres opened the Dalí Theatre-Museum. In 1980 a major Dalí retrospective was held at the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, in Paris, and his work was exhibited at the Tate Gallery, London. Two years later, his wife and eternal muse Gala died, after which his health rapidly declined. The artist died on 23 January 1989, in Figueras.
Dalí’s work can be found in numerous major public collections, including: J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid; Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid; Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Tate Collection, London.
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