Painter 1904 - 1989
Salvador Dalí, in full Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dalí y Domenech (born May 11, 1904, Figueras, Spain—died January 23, 1989, Figueras), Spanish Surrealist painter and printmaker, influential for his explorations of subconscious imagery.
As an art student in Madrid and Barcelona, Dalí assimilated a vast number of artistic styles and displayed unusual technical facility as a 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 the human subconscious over reason. To bring up images from his subconscious mind, Dalí began to induce hallucinatory states in himself by a process he described as “paranoiac critical.”
Once Dalí hit on that method, his painting style matured with extraordinary rapidity, and from 1929 to 1937 he produced the paintings which made him the world’s best-known Surrealist artist. He depicted a dream world in which commonplace objects are juxtaposed, deformed, or otherwise metamorphosed in a bizarre and irrational fashion. Dalí portrayed those objects in meticulous, almost painfully realistic detail and usually placed them within bleak sunlit landscapes that were reminiscent of his Catalonian homeland. Perhaps the most famous of those enigmatic images is The Persistence of Memory (1931), in which limp melting watches rest in an eerily calm landscape. With the Spanish director Luis Buñuel, Dalí made two Surrealistic films—Un Chien andalou (1928; An Andalusian Dog) and L’Âge d’or (1930; The Golden Age)—that are similarly filled with grotesque but highly suggestive images.