Salvador Dalí

Spanish, 1904-1989

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Salvador Dalí was one of the most popular artists of the 20th century. A famed Surrealist, he explained “all my best ideas [come] through my dreams.” The Persistence of Memory (1931), arguably his most famous painting, shows the visual manifestation of psychoanalysis: fluid forms melt into a landscape of indeterminate time or place. Dalí’s outlandish persona granted him notoriety and often overshadowed his talent. He considered himself a genius, and thought Modern master Pablo Picasso to be his only equal. Born Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech on May 11, 1904 in Figueres, Spain, he displayed a great aptitude for the visual arts as a teenager. Three years after his first exhibition at 14, Dalí enrolled in Madrid’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando. Influenced by Old Masters Johannes Vermeer and Diego Velázquez, Dalí excelled in drawing and classical aspects of painting. In the late 1920s fellow Catalan Joan Miró introduced him to the Surrealists in France: Jean Arp, René Magritte, and Max Ernst. The inimitable Dalí died at the age of 84 in his native Spain.