In his early days, Dalí was a source of both pride and despair for his father, a distinguished art connoisseur He first studied at the Municipal Drawing School in Figueres and, when he was fifteen, founded the review Studium, (printed on wrapping paper) with friends, contributing the section "The Great Masters of Painting." At that time, he was painting canvases on which he glued stones to achieve a relief effect. In 1922 he enrolled in the School of Fine Arts in Madrid and drew attention to himself by his various eccentricities, until he was expelled in 1926. This did not prevent him from executing copies at the Prado and creating cubist paintings, which he showed at the Dalmau Gallery in Barcelona. Dalí became closely acquainted with student members of the Ultraist movement, including Federico Garcia Lorca, for whom he made the sets for Mariana Pineda, and Luis Buñuel, for whom he served as scenarist for the films Un Chien andalou and L’Âge d’or. During a visit to Paris, he visited Joan Miró, who introduced him to surrealism. In the summer of 1929, a delegation of surrealists joined Dalì at his family's house by the sea in Cadaquès, Spain. Among the visitors were Paul Éluard and his wife, Gala. In no time, Gala became the Catalan painter's companion and muse. Dalí had his first show in Paris, in November 1929, at the Galerie Goemans. From that time on, he behaved like a frenzied surrealist, taking as his model the mental illness paranoia, and inventing the "paranoiac-critical method," which he defined thus: "A spontaneous method of irrational knowledge based on the critical objectification of delirious associations." This simulated madness dictated his paintings to him, such as the Six Apparitions of Lenin on a Piano (1931, Musée d'Art Moderne, Paris); his books, including The Visible Woman (1930) and The Conquest of the Irrational (1935); and even his behavior. It was in the name of paranoiac-critical that Dalí appeared in a diving suit with two white Russian wolfhounds on a leash, at the London Surrealist Exhibition of 1936, and landed in New York brandishing an 8-foot-long loaf of bread made specifically for the event. From 1940 to 1945, Dalí continued his frantic activity in the United States, near Hollywood, where he'd taken refuge during the war. It was there that he was anathematized by André Breton, who nicknamed him with the anagram "Avida Dollars," ejecting him from the surrealist camp because of his venality. When Dalí returned to Europe, he applied his paranoiac-critical method to the glorification of monarchist and religious themes. His mystical period began with the Madonna of Port Lligat (1949), representing Gala as the Madonna, and the publication, in Latin, of his Mystical Manifesto (1951). This period was coupled with his nuclear period, which began with the Exploding Raphaelesque Head (1951). Later, he created a series of events, including a conference at the Sorbonne, in December 1955, based on an analogy between a rhinoceros and a cauliflower; an exhibition of peintres-pompiers at the Hotel Meurice in 1967; original works, including an illustration of Don Quixote using an arquebus with ink-filled bullets; and autobiographies, such as the Diary of a Genius. His subsequent creations, such as the forty-two etchings of his Homage to Durer (1971) and his cookbook, Gala's Dinners (1971), illustrated with collages, still represent an odd combination of academic tradition and an innate sense of the avant-garde. He also displayed his virtuosity in the painting, Dali From the Back Painting Gala From the Back Made Eternal by Six Virtual Corneas Temporarily Reflected by Six Mirrors (1972-3. Foundation Gala-Salvador Dali, Figueres), a stereoscopic work in two panels, one for the right eye and one for the left. Honored by Juan Carlos of Spain with the title Marquis de Pubol, Dali began preparations for his museum in Figueres while living in his house at Port Lligat. On June 10, 1982, the death of Gala, at the age of eighty-eight, came as a terrible blow. He was no longer able to paint, and after being severely burned in a fire in his room, on April 30, 1984, spent the last years of his life cloistered in the Galatea Tower of his museum.
Born 1904 and died 1989 in Figueres, Spain.