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Born in Figueres, Catalonia, Dalí received his formal education in fine arts in Madrid. Influenced by Impressionism and the Renaissance masters from a young age, he became increasingly attracted to Cubism and avant-garde movements. He moved closer to Surrealism in the late 1920s and joined the Surrealist group in 1929, soon becoming one of its leading exponents. His best-known work, The Persistence of Memory, was completed in August 1931, and is one of the most famous Surrealist paintings. Dalí lived in France throughout the Spanish Civil War (1936 to 1939) before leaving for the United States in 1940 where he achieved commercial success. He returned to Spain in 1948 where he announced his return to the Catholic faith and developed his “nuclear mysticism” style, based on his interest in classicism, mysticism, and recent scientific developments.
Dalí’s artistic repertoire included painting, graphic arts, film, sculpture, design and photography, at times in collaboration with other artists. He also wrote fiction, poetry, autobiography, essays and criticism. Major themes in his work include dreams, the subconscious, sexuality, religion, science and his closest personal relationships. To the dismay of those who held his work in high regard, and to the irritation of his critics, his eccentric and ostentatious public behavior often drew more attention than his artwork.
There are two major museums devoted to Salvador Dalí’s work: the Dali Theatre-Museum in Figueres, Spain, and the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida.
A TIMELINE OF DALI:
1904 – Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech is born in Figueras, Spain on May 11th; first painting, a landscape, is dated 1910.
1914 – Begins secondary education at the Marist Brothers’ school in Figueras where he becomes interested in painting and is influenced particularly by Ramon Pixtox (1872-1925). Most of Dalí’s early work is of landscapes and scenes of peasants and fishermen.
1918 – Interest and experimentation in Impressionism; first canvases are exhibited for local artists held at the Teatre Municipal in Figueras.
1921 – Enrolls in the San Fernando School of Fine Arts in Madrid; he meets the poet Garcia Lorca, and film maker Luis Buñel, with whom he will later make the film Un Chien Andalou (A Dog from Andalucia) in the 1929. He is expelled for one year for rebel behaviour. His mother dies.
1922 – Exhibits at the Galeries Dalmau in Barcelona. In Paris André Breton forms the first Surrealist group together with Picasso, Max Ernst and Man Ray.
1923 – Arrested for anarchist tendencies and imprisoned for 35 days; interest grows in Cubism and Italian Metaphysical School (Carrà and de Chirico).
1925 – First one-man show in Barcelona; Picasso and Mirò show interest in his work; Begins a collaboration with Barcelona review L’Amis de les Arts which lasts until 1929.
1926 – Visits Paris and meets Picasso; is expelled permanently from Fine Art School; Mirò visits Dalí in Cadaqués; second one-man show at the Galeries Dalmau; interest grows among critics and public.
1927 – Does military service; spends summer with Lorca and Regino Sàinz de la Maza; writes poem Saint Sebastian which is published in L’Amis de les Arts.
1928 – Lluis Montanyà, Sevastià Gasch and Dalí issue the revolutionary Yellow Manifesto; his work is influenced by Mirò, Arp, Ernst, and Tanguy; three of his paintings are shown at the 27th painting exhibition of the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, U.S.A.
1929 – Works with Buñuel on his film Un Chien Andalou which causes a sensation; Mirò introduces Dalí to Surrealist group and to Magritte, Paul Eluard and his wife Helena, who will eventually become Dali’s wife and lifetime muse, Gala; Dalí’s first exhibition, presented by Breton, at the Galerie Goemans in Paris.
1930 – Le Surréalisme au service de la révolution publishes Reverie one of Dalí’s most important texts; 10 paintings are shown in what should be regarded as the first Surrealist exhibition in the United States; Dalí publishes the text L’Ane Pourri where he lays down the foundation of his paranoiac-critical method.
1931 – Paints his most famous painting The Persistence of Memory where the melting clocks appear for the first time. It arouses enormous curiosity in a group exhibition at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York.
1933 – Signs contract with Albert Skira, undertaking to do forty sketches for Lautréamont’s Les Chants de Maldoror; first one-man show at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York; in December Dalí exhibits at the Galeria d’Art Catalònia, Barcelona.
1934 – Exhibitions held at the Salon des Indépendants, Julien Levy Gallery, Galerie Jacques Bonjean, Carnegie Institute and Zwemmer Gallery in London – his frist one-man show in Britain; Gala and Dalí arrive in N.Y. for the first time. Dali is expelled from the surrealist group, accused of being an avida dollar man and apolitical.
1936 – The Surrealist exhibition of objects at the Galerie C. Ratton in which Dalí participates marks the “officialization” of a new expression of Surrealism; his photo appears on front cover of Time magazine; creates 2 popular objects of the Surrealist movement Lobster Telephone and Mae West Lips Sofa.
1937 – The poet Garcia Lorca is assassinated. At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, Dalí flees to Italy and is influenced by Renaissance and the Baroque art.
1938 – Meets Sigmund Freud in London and is heavily influenced by his psychoanalytic theories; participates in an international surrealist exhibition at the Galerie des Beaux Arts in Paris with his Rainy Taxi; collaborates with fashion designer Coco Chanel on several ballet designs for the Ballets de Montecarlo.
1939 – Creates pavilion The Dream of Venus for N.Y.’s World Fair but encounters differences with its sponsors over his ideas, later when his plan to put a fish’s head on Botticelli’s Venus is prohibited, he publishes his “Declaration of the independence of imagination and of man’s right to his own madness”; Dalí designs scenery for first paranoiac ballet Bacchanal which is performed at the Metropolitan Opera House; breaks with the Surrealist group famously declaring “Surrealism is me”.
1940 – With the onset of World War II, Dalí flees to America and remains there until 1948.
1941 – Dalí is very successful in America; begins prolific collaboration with photographer Philippe Halsman, which ends with the latter’s death in 1979;
1942 – His autobiography The Secret Life of Salvador Dali is published.
1943 – Becomes accepted member of New York society; paints portraits of rich Americans for Knoedler Gallery and constructs his famous Mae West’s face.
1944 – Theatrical activities intensify and begins working on illustrations for many books.
1945 – The explosion of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima inspires Dalí to begin his “nuclear” or “atomic” period; collaborates with Alfred Hitchcock and paints the dream sequence for film Spellbound.
1948 – Settles for good in Port Lligat, Spain; exhibits at the Galleria l’Obelisco in Rome; enters into a new phase, in which he focuses on the great themes of Western tradition.
1949 – Designs scenery for Strauss’ Salome at Covent Garden in London; his interest in harmonic and geometric theory grows; paints the Madonna of Port Lligat.
1950 – enters his period of Nuclear Mysticism where many of his drawings are influenced by religion and mythology.
1952 – Explains the elements of nuclear mystique in a seven city tour in the U.S.; is commissioned to illustrate La Divina Commedia for the anniversary of Dante, creates 102 watercolors.
1954 – Major retrospective of Dalí’s work in Rome (Palazzo Pallavicini), Venice and Milan successively.
1958 Gala and Dalí are married at the ‘Chapel of Angels’ in Girona on August 8th; Dalí is presented by the Cuban Ambassador in Paris with the Médaille à la Qualité Francaise for his series of illustrations of Don Quixote (1957); initiates ‘optical art’, seeking optical effects and illusions.
1959 – Dalí meets Pope John XXIII.
1960 – The Surrealists write the article “We don’t hear it that way“, an article against Dalí’s participation in an international exhibition of Surrealism in New York; begins work on The World of Salvador Dalí with Mr. Robert Descharnes.
1962 – Dalí concentrates increasingly on the main themes of his past career, which he examines and works again and again; Descharnes publishes Dalí de Gala: le monde de Salvador Dali
1963 – Exhibition of most recent works at Knoedler Gallery, New York; publication of book The Tragic Myth of Millet’s Angelus written in 1933.
1964 – Dalí is decorated with the Grand Cross of Isabel la Catòlica; publication of Dairy of a Genius; major retrospective in Tokyo, Japan organized by Mainichi Newspaper.
1965 – The Gallery of Modern Art in New York shows never seen paintings from Reynolds Morse’s private collection; Dalí illustrates the Bible with 100 watercolors; develops interest in holography and three-dimensional art.
1969 – Publication of Las Metamorfosis Eròticas, one of the high points of his paranoiac-critical method; exhibition at Knoedler Gallery arouses great interest in American press; Dalí announces the creation of the Dalí museum in Figueras; works on commercial poster for such companies as Perrier, Lanvin chocolates, and the French Railways; designed the famous Chupa Chups logo.
1971 – Formal opening of the Dalí museum in Cleveland consisting largely of the Morse Collection.
1973 – ‘Dalínian Holographic Room’ is exhibited; Dalí illustrates Dix Recettes D’Immortalité and Roi Je t’attends à Babylone.
1974 – Opening of the Dalí Museum-Theatre in Figueras, Spain. Finishes the illustrated book Mosesand Monotheism.
1978 – Guggenheim Museum, New York presents Dalí’s first hyper-stereoscopic works; Dalí is elected a foreign associate member of the Académie Francaise des Beaux-Arts.
1980 – Major retrospective at Tate Gallery, London; Dalí delivers portrait of the King of Spain to the Zarzuela Palace in Madrid.
1981 – Recovers slowly from an illness contracted in New York; concerned for his health, Dalí is visited at his house in Portlligat by King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain.
1982 – Attends formal opening of the Dalí Museum of St. Petersburg, Florida, founded by Morse; the Honourable Jordi Pujol, President of the Autonomous Government of Catalonia presents Dalí with the Governmental Gold Metal; Dalí’s last paintings are made; Dalí’s wife Gala dies on June 10th after over fifty years of companionship and is buried on the grounds of the Castle of Pubol. After losing his wife, Dalí abandons public life and closes himself off in his Castle of Pubol.
1984: Following the fire of his house, his health worsens.
1989 – Salvador Dalí dies at the age of 85 on January 23rd. He is buried in the Dalí Museum-Theatre in Figueras where he was born.
During Salvador Dalí’s lifetime, Dalí himself originated the idea for a series of sculptures, created individual maquette’s and approved a collection of sculptural editions that he intended to survive beyond him and be a part of his ongoing legacy. Continue reading
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Harvey Galleries was founded by the Harvey family in 1994 with an eye to establish a dynamic and inclusive contemporary art space on the North Shore of Sydney. For almost three decades we have expanded our reach to over three gallery locations and an ever expanding stable of the best artists Australia has to offer.
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