The Spanish painter Salvador Dalí was born the son of a solicitor in the Catalan town of Figueras on May 11, 1904. He picks up his art studies at the Madrid Academy in 1921, where he receives thorough training in techniques as well as in art history, however, he has problems accepting his professor's expertise and authority, which is why he is dismissed from the school in 1926.
In his early works Salvador Dali experiments with many different painting styles. They show an orientation towards Cubism, Italian Futurism as well as the style of the old masters of 17th century Dutch painting. The first surreal painting "Honey is sweeter than blood" was made in 1927. In 1928 Dalí travels to Paris for the first time. A year later he is introduced to the circleof surrealists by Joan Miró and meets Elena Diakonova, who will go down in art history as "Gala" and "Muse of the Surrealists". Dalí moves to Paris and Gala becomes his partner for several years before they finally marry in 1934, after she divorced her first husband Paul Éluard.
A first exhibition with works by Dali takes place in 1929, for which André Breton wrote the catalogue's text. Dali and Luis Buñuel make the surrealist film "An Andalusian Dog" the same year. Numerous works with fantastic compositions are made over the following years, works inspired by visions and dreams. A characteristic feature of Dali's works is their sober objectivity in illustration on the one hand and the perfect, almost meticulous color application on the other. Besides Giorgio de Chirico, René Magritte, Max Ernst and Pierre Delveaux, Salvador Dalí is regarded as one of the main representatives of surrealist painting - he affirms this position by his scurrile and egomaniac life style.
Besides paintings, Salvador Dalí also works on book illustrations. The illustrations for Lautréamont's "Chant de Maldoror" were made in 1934, these images become a rich and continuous source of inspiration for the surrealists. Dali makes the illustrations for "Don Quichotte" in 1958 and also designs the stage for several ballet performances. In 1942 he writes his remarkable autobiography. His life and artistic creation is more and more geared at its effect on the audience. Dali lives in the USA for some time as of 1940, where he decides to take a turn to classic ideas, beginning to depict religious themes in his paintings. He paints the "Crucifixion" in 1954 and is commissioned to paint a Late Supper scene for the National Gallery of Art in Washington.
The artist returns to Spain in the 1950s and dies in his home town of Figueras on January 23, 1989.