The Fine Line Between Madness, Genius and Surrealism: Salvador Dali

A Bit of Dali History

In 1929 Dali held his first one-man show in Paris. He also joined the surrealists, led by former Dadaist Andre Breton. That year, Dali met Gala Eluard when she visited him in Cadaques with her husband, poet Paul Eluard. She became Dali's lover, muse, business manager, and chief inspiration.

Dali soon became a leader of the Surrealist Movement. His painting, The Persistance of Memory, with the soft or melting watches is still one of the best-known surrealist works. But as the war approached, the apolitical Dali clashed with the Surrealists and was "expelled" from the surrealist group during a "trial" in 1934. He did however, exhibit works in international surrealist exhibitions throughout the decade but by 1940, Dali was moving into a new type of painting with a preoccupation with science and religion.

Dali and Gala escaped from Europe during World War II, spending 1940-48 in the United States. These were very important years for the artist. The Museum of Modern Art in New York gave Dali his first major retrospective exhibit in 1941. This was followed in 1942 by the publication of Dali's autobiography, The Secret Life of Salvador Dali.

As Dali moved away from Surrealism and into his classic period, he began his series of 19 large canvases, many concerning scientific, historical or religious themes. Among the best known of these works are The Hallucinogenic Toreador, and The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in the museum's collection, and The Sacrament of the Last Supper in the collection of the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.

A Slideshow of Some of Salvador Dali's Works

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Quotes from Salvador Dali

At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since.

Salvador Dali

Democratic societies are unfit for the publication of such thunderous revelations as I am in the habit of making.

Salvador Dali

Don't bother about being modern. Unfortunately it is the one thing that, whatever you do, you cannot avoid.

Salvador Dali

Drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility of cheating. It is either good or bad.

Salvador Dali

Each morning when I awake, I experience again a supreme pleasure - that of being Salvador Dali.

Salvador Dali

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

Salvador Dali

I do not paint a portrait to look like the subject, rather does the person grow to look like his portrait.

Salvador Dali

I don't do drugs. I am drugs.

Salvador Dali

I have Dalinian thought: the one thing the world will never have enough of is the outrageous.

Salvador Dali

I seated ugliness on my knee, and almost immediately grew tired of it.

Salvador Dali

In order to acquire a growing and lasting respect in society, it is a good thing, if you possess great talent, to give, early in your youth, a very hard kick to the right shin of the society that you love. After that, be a snob.

Salvador Dali

Instead of stubbornly attempting to use surrealism for purposes of subversion, it is necessary to try to make of surrealism something as solid, complete and classic as the works of museums.

Salvador Dali

Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.

Salvador Dali

It is good taste, and good taste alone, that possesses the power to sterilize and is always the first handicap to any creative functioning.

Salvador Dali

Let my enemies devour each other.

Salvador Dali

Liking money like I like it, is nothing less than mysticism. Money is a glory.

Salvador Dali

Mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature. Never try to correct them. On the contrary: rationalize them, understand them thoroughly. After that, it will be possible for you to sublimate them.

Salvador Dali

Painting is an infinitely minute part of my personality.

Salvador Dali

Progressive art can assist people to learn not only about the objective forces at work in the society in which they live, but also about the intensely social character of their interior lives. Ultimately, it can propel people toward social emancipation.

Salvador Dali

Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.

Salvador Dali

Take me, I am the drug; take me, I am hallucinogenic.

Salvador Dali

The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant.

Salvador Dali

The first man to compare the cheeks of a young woman to a rose was obviously a poet; the first to repeat it was possibly an idiot.

Salvador Dali

The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad.

Salvador Dali

The secret of my influence has always been that it remained secret.

Salvador Dali

The terrifying and edible beauty of Art Nouveau architecture.

Salvador Dali

The thermometer of success is merely the jealousy of the malcontents.

Salvador Dali

There are some days when I think I'm going to die from an overdose of satisfaction.

Salvador Dali

There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad.

Salvador Dali

Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.

Salvador Dali

Wars have never hurt anybody except the people who die.

Salvador Dali

We are all hungry and thirsty for concrete images. Abstract art will have been good for one thing: to restore its exact virginity to figurative art.

Salvador Dali

What is a television apparatus to man, who has only to shut his eyes to see the most inaccessible regions of the seen and the never seen, who has only to imagine in order to pierce through walls and cause all the planetary Baghdads of his dreams to rise from the dust.

Salvador Dali

Every morning when I awake, the greatests of joys is mine: that of being

Salvador Dali.

...And Now for Something Really Surreal: Salvador Dali on "What's My Line?"

This May Be the Wierdest Thing I Ever Seen

Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, 1st Marquis of Púbol   (May 11, 1904 – January 23, 1989)   Spanish Catalan surrealist painter
Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, 1st Marquis of Púbol (May 11, 1904 – January 23, 1989) Spanish Catalan surrealist painter

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Comments 1 comment

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 8 years ago from California Gold Country

A good one, St James. Very interesting, strange and talented genius. The videos were good too, but I think someone peeked on What's my Line.

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