Dali, Salvador

Dali, Salvador Biography

Spanish painter, writer, and member of the surrealist movement. Salvador Dali was born in Figueras, Catalonia, and educated at the School of Fine Arts, Madrid. As an art student in Madrid and Barcelona, Dali assimilated a vast number of artistic styles and displayed unusual technical facility as an oil painter. It was not until the late 1920s, however, that two events brought about the development of his mature artistic style: his discovery of Sigmund Freud's writings on the erotic significance of subconscious imagery, and his affiliation with the Paris Surrealists, a group of artists and writers who sought to establish the "greater reality" of man's subconscious over his reason. To bring up images from his subconscious mind, Dali began to induce hallucinatory states in himself by a process he described as "paranoiac critical." After 1929 he espoused surrealism. Dali's oil paintings from this period depict dream imagery and everyday objects in unexpected forms, such as the famous limp watches in The Persistence of Memory (1931, Museum of Modern Art, New York City). Dali moved to the United States in 1940, where he remained until 1948. Dali's later oil paintings, often on religious themes, are more classical in style. They include Crucifixion (1954, Metropolitan Museum, New York City) and The Sacrament of the Last Supper (1955, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.).

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