Salvador Dali was a Spanish painter born in Figueras, Catalonia, where he died in 1989. Trained at Madrid’s school of fine arts, he was drawn simultaneously to Academicism, Impressionism, Futurism, and Cubism; after reading Freud, his passions turned to dreams and the unconscious.
In 1928, he met Picasso and Breton and joined the Surrealists. He also
met Gala Eluard, who became his companion and muse. in 1929, he began formulating the “paranoid-critical” method, which would provide the foundations for most of his paintings.
After a stay in the United States from 1940 to 1948, where his influence was felt on fashion, advertising, and ballet sets, he went back to Spain to undergo a religious crisis and returned to the baroque traditions and landscapes of his youth, in harmony with his temperament.
It soon became apparent, however, that there was an inherent contradiction in Dalí’s approach between what he himself described as ‘critical paranoia’ - which lent itself to systematic interpretation - and the element of automatism upon which his method depended. Dalí’s extreme statements on political matters struck a false note in the context of the Surrealist ethic and his relations with the rest of the group became increasingly strained after 1934. In the eyes of the public he was, increasingly as time went by, the Surrealist par excellence, and he did his utmost to maintain, by way of excessive exhibitionism in every area, this enviable reputation.