The Commanding Personality of Salvador Dali

John P.

Salvador Dali - Flower MustacheA flamboyant painter and sometime writer, sculptor and experimental film-maker, Salvador Dali was probably the greatest Surrealist artist, using bizarre dream imagery to create unforgettable and unmistakable landscapes of his inner world.

Dalí was born on May 11, 1904, in Figueres, Spain close to the French border. In 1916, Dali discovered modern painting on a summer vacation to Cadaques with the family of Ramon Pichot, a local artist who made regular trips to Paris. The next year, Dali’s father organized an exhibition of his charcoal drawings in their family home. He had his first public exhibition at the Municipal Theater in Figueres in 1919.

Salvador Dali - Basket of BreadIn 1922 Dalí moved into the Students’ Residence in Madrid and there studied at the San Fernando School of Fine Arts. However, shortly before his final exams Dalí was expelled when he stated that, “no one on the faculty was competent enough to examine him”. His mastery of painting skills is well documented by that time in his flawlessly realistic Basket of Bread, which was painted in 1926.

Salvador Dali - The Persistence of MemoryBy 1929 Dali met his wife Gala, officially joined the surrealist group in Paris and began seriously establishing himself. In 1931 he painted his most famous work, The Persistence of Memory – also known as Melting Clocks. But by 1934 he was kicked out of the “official” Surrealist group by Andre Breton (the father of Surrealism) and the other members. coined a brilliant anagram for Dali’s name: Avida Dollars (which more or less translates to “Eager for Dollars”); Dali shot back, The only difference between me and the Surrealists is that I am a Surrealist.

Throughout his life he dabbled in just about every artistic medium imaginable from canvas, to video, and holograms to sculpture. But always with extensive symbolism portrayed in all of his works. Indeed, Dali produced over 1,500 paintings in his career, in addition to illustrations for books, lithographs, designs for theater sets and costumes, a great number of drawings, dozens of sculptures, and various other projects, including an animated cartoon for Disney.

Of course, one of the most interesting things about Dali is that he is the most modern of the “great artists”. And as a result we have volumes of media and information about his life and times.

For example, here is a ten minute clip from the famous 1950’s game show “What’s My Line” featuring special guest Salvador Dali:

And here Dali appears in a few commercials:

Someone also put together this tribute to Salvador Dali featuring a large collection of his art and photographs.

Finally, a few more bits of reference material if you choose to read further:

  1. Here is a chronological gallery of his work.
  2. The Dali Photo Library contains over 60,000 photos.
  3. Virtual Dali
  4. The ArtCyclopedia listing for Salvador Dali.


  1. shadan says

    thanks for information i love Dali’ work but i want to know more about his personality , i really need to know him thanks

  2. says

    There is a wealth of information on Dali out there because, as the author of this post correctly noted, he is the most modern of the great artists. In fact, I would call him a “Modern Master.” Park West recently launched a Salvador Dali website that provides useful Dali information and virtual galleries of his artwork. If you are interested in learning more about Dali, you should check the site out.

  3. says

    Sorry Brandon, I missed that comment previously. Hard to keep up with all of them sometimes. :-)

    I didn’t realize the comment preview was causing anyone problems, but I just disabled the plugin, so it is now gone forever! Hope that takes care of the problem! :-)


  4. says

    I really like that Flower Mustache picture, I’ve never seen that before, or for that matter I haven’t seen any of Deli’s work before!

    Thanks for sharing the video John, interesting and a great collection of work there.

  5. says

    I love Dali’ work
    Always have :)

    Thanks for the live video

    ps.. is there any way to kill this “you say” ? it’s slowing down my typing dramatically :(
    I type to fast I guess..??? it’s missing a ton of what I type, then I have to go back ??
    I had to type this “ps” about 12 times… :((

  6. MG says

    While we have Plato’s writings, DaVinci’s sketchings, and other artist remnants, we have little if any video. It’s going to be great in the coming centuries to have figures of the past immortalized. Reading about an author or viewing their paintings is one thing, but to get a glimpse into the type of person they are, from something as easy to access as a youtube vid is something I’m glad to be able to see in my lifetime :)

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