Today in History: Salvador Dali is Born (1904)

On this day, 108 years ago, one of the most prominent personalities in the art world was born. Let’s take a look back at the life and work of the celebrated surrealist painter in this installment of Today in History!

Photo by Philippe Halsman via Studio Badini on Blogspot

On May 11, 1904, Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dali y Domenech was born in the town of Figueres, in Catalonia, Spain. While his father, a middle-class lawyer, was a strict disciplinarian, his mother supported his artistic ambitions. Aside from attending drawing school, he also came across modern painting while on the way to Cadaques for a summer vacation in 1916. A year later, Dali’s father showcased his charcoal drawings in an exhibit in their family home. In 1919, the soon-to-be-surrealist had his first public exhibit at the Municipal Theater of his hometown.

Dali pursued studies at the Academia de San Fernando (School of Fine Arts) and moved to the Residencia de Estudiantes (Students’ Residence). The tall and lean Dali began drawing attention to himself around this time, creating an impression as an eccentric and dandy young man. During his stay at the Residencia, he became close friends with many artistic personalities around him, such as the poet Federico Garcia Lorca, the filmmaker Luis Buñuel, and the writer Jose “Pepin” Bello.

Dali’s earliest works that caught the attention of his fellow classmates involved his experiments with Cubism, despite little understanding of the art movement. Later on, he also dabbled with the Dada cultural movement, which eventually became a major influence of his work.

Despite being expelled from the Academia in 1926 over accusations of inciting unrest, Dali exhibited mastery of painting, as proven by his realistic painting The Basket of Bread, created in the same year. Later, when he visited Paris for the first time, he met the esteemed Cubist artist Pablo Picasso, whom he held in high regard from his younger years.

The Persistence of Memory. Image via 302art on Blogspot

While Dali exposed himself with various influences and art styles, he eventually settled and became famous as a surrealist painter. In 1931, he painted The Persistence of Memory, his best known work. The famous work of art, which features striking images of soft and melting pocket watches has been in the care of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City since 1934.

The intriguing and quirky Dali, with his flamboyant and iconic moustache, also had forays with fashion and photography. Aside from working with Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli and French fashion designer Christian Dior, he also collaborated with many photographers, the most notable being Man Ray, Cecil Beaton, and Philippe Halsman.

The Dali Atomicus, the fruit of the surrealist painter’s famous collaboration with Philippe Halsman. Photos via Studio Badini on Blogspot

Now, let’s take a look at a few more photographs of the famed surrealist painter as we greet him a happy dreamy birthday:

Photos via,, Wikipedia, and Retronaut.

All information for this article were taken from Salvador Dali on Wikipedia.

written by plasticpopsicle on 2012-05-11 #lifestyle #surrealist #birthday #lomography #analogue-lifestyle #surrealist-painter #painter #today-in-history #surrealism #artist #salvador-dali

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