Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Spotlight on Salvador Dali

"Have no fear of perfection, you'll never reach it."

So said Salvador Dali, but he did manage to find a great measure of fame for his Surrealist artwork, as well as his eccentric ways. The mustachioed Dali was a bold and flamboyant character that produced over 1500 paintings over the course of his career. He also dabbled in drawing, sculpture, book illustrations, lithographs, as well as theatre sets and costume design, all of which captured his surrealist stylings.

Salvador Dali was born May 11, 1904 in Figueres, Spain. From a young age, he displayed artistic skill, which his Mother encouraged, despite his strict Father's disciplinary ways. None the less, young Dali was sent to San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid, where he began to further develop his artistic talents. His skill quickly caught the eye of Spaniards and he had his first public exhibition of his work in 1919. Much to Dali's chagrin though, his Mother died in 1921, unable to watch her son's rise to fame over the years to come.

The Persistence of Memory - 1931
And rise to fame he did. In 1924, he illustrated his first book, for Carles Fages de Climent ("Les bruixes de Llers"). He was expelled from the Academy in 1926, for instigating unrest amongst students, but that did not prevent him from meeting Pablo Picasso, who had already heard of this up and coming artist. By 1929, he collaborated with Luis Buñuel, a surrealist film director on a short film entitled "Un Chien Andalou". This was also the year that he met Elena Ivanovna Diakonova, or as he fondly called her, Gala. Despite the fact that she was married to Surrealist poet Paul Éluard, they began a torrid love affair that eventually led to their marriage in 1934.

Les Elephants - 1948
While Dali had worked in a surrealist style for a number of years, it wasn't until 1929 that he officially joined the Surrealist group, led by Dadaist Andre Breton. He became the leader of the Surrealists shortly thereafter, but in 1934 was kicked out of the group, via a trial of his peers, in chief point because he clashed with their political beliefs. This did not deter Dali though and he continued to show his works at Surrealist exhibitions around Europe. The outbreak of World War II, saw himself and Gala flee to the US though, where he continued to enjoy a measure of fame. He had an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1941 and went on to publish his autobiography in 1942. He and Gala stayed in the United States until after the war, returning to Catalonia, Spain in 1949.

Salvador Dali’s Chupa Chups logo
Chupa Chups Logo - 1969
With his return to Spain, Dali began to move in a new direction with his art, entering a Classical period. He explored science, religion and even delved into the world of optical illusions. All the while, he worked for such notables as Walt Disney, Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, Edward Jones, Alfred Hitchcock and fashion designers Elsa Schiaparelli  and Christian Dior. He even designed the logo for Chupa Chups in 1969, that is still in use today.

The loss of his beloved Gala in 1982, foreshadowed Dali's own decline. He continued to work, but ultimately after suffering heart failure on January 23, 1989, Salvador Dali passed away at the age of 84.

"The problem with the youth of today' is that one is no longer part of it."

Ah, but for the children out there, Dali is not lost. This weekend, Budding Artists will be featuring Dali in our Children's Art Workshop at the Western Fair Farmer's Market. Our workshops are 90 minutes, and jam-packed full of art history, games, stories and of course an opportunity to create your own Dali-inspired artwork to take home with you. Call Budding Artists today to register for either the 10am or 1pm workshop and have your children experience the thrill and surreal world of Salvador Dali. See you on November 12th!

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