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Dal, Salvador (1904-1989).

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Dal�, Salvador (1904-1989), Spanish painter, writer, and member of the surrealist movement. He was born in Figueras, Catalonia, and educated at the School of Fine Arts, Madrid. After 1929 he espoused surrealism, although the leaders of the movement later denounced Dal� as overly commercial. Dal�'s 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). Dal� moved to the United States in 1940, where he remained until 1948. His later 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.). ...read more.


After studying at the Academy of Fine Arts, Madrid, he moved to Paris and joined the Surrealists (1928), becoming one of the principal figures of the movement. His study of abnormal psychology and dream symbolism led him to represent 'paranoiac' objects in landscapes remembered from his Spanish boyhood. In 1940 he settled in the USA, became a Catholic, and devoted his art to symbolic religious paintings. He wrote The Secret Life of Salvador Dali (1942), and collaborated with Luis Bu�uel in the Surrealist films Un Chien andalou (1928, An Andalusian Dog), and L'Age d'or (1930, The Golden Age). One of his best-known paintings is 'The Persistence of Memory' (known as 'The Limp Watches', 1931, Museum of Modern Art, New York City). ...read more.


Those limp watches are as soft as overripe cheese-indeed "the camembert of time," in Dali's phrase. Here time must lose all meaning. Permanence goes with it: ants, a common theme in Dali's work, represent decay, particularly when they attack a gold watch, and become grotesquely organic. The monstrous fleshy creature draped across the painting's center is at once alien and familiar: an approximation of Dali's own face in profile, its long eyelashes seem disturbingly insectlike or even sexual, as does what may or may not be a tongue oozing from its nose like a fat snail. The year before this picture was painted, Dali formulated his "paranoiac-critical method," cultivating self-induced psychotic hallucinations in order to create art. "The difference between a madman and me," he said, "is that I am not mad." ...read more.

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