Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, 1st Marqués de Dalí de Pubol, was born 111 years ago today. “A nice round number,” he is not reported to have not said to anyone about this or any other number, except round ones, today or any other day.
Salvador Dalí was the most local of artists—many street scenes in his works replicate from childhood memory the turn-of-the-century streets of his hometown of Figueres, many beach-scapes are photorealistic recreations of the rocks and outcroppings and jetties of the nearby Port Lligat beaches he loved—and his works bring viewers into a yet more local setting: his mind and his dreams.
His body is interred in a crypt in the Dalí Theatre and Museum in Figueres, across the street from the church in which he was baptized and received his first communion.
Dalí’s popularity as an artist has never really had peaks and valleys; his work started to attract notice when he was in his mid-20s and his course through life took him from attention-getting to admired to loved to beloved, and now he is thought of as one of the major visual artists of the 20th century.
His self-promoting persona sometimes outshone the creations but at times it was his chief creation.
And for $30 from various websites, you can purchase a melting wristwatch, as seen at top, a visual reference to one of Dalí’s most famous paintings: The Persistence of Memory.
The year before TPoM was painted, Dalí formulated his “paranoiac-critical method,” cultivating self-induced psychotic hallucinations in order to create art. “The difference between a madman and me,” he said, “is that I am not mad.”—The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights, New York: revised 2004
To further quote Dalí, he set out to master “the usual paralyzing tricks of eye-fooling,” and “the most imperialist fury of precision,” but only, he said, “to systematize confusion and thus to help discredit completely the world of reality.” It was not enough to be paint with precision a landscape that can not exist, Dalí also had to embody surrealism in life, he insisted on living a life that was utterly surreal. Or “Surreal.” Usually with a walking stick.
Ah, but how he would have loved the fact we can now manufacture—and sell!—functioning melting watches.
In honor of the grand master’s 111th, here is a look at his theatrical and somehow cozy home in Cadaques, in which he and his beloved wife Gala lived from the 1940s through the ’70s. He purchased several homes and combined them, installing hallways to nowhere, trapdoors, and windows everywhere, no two the same size or shape:
* * * *
Follow The Gad About Town on Facebook! Subscribe today for daily facts (well, trivia) about literature and history, plus links to other writers on Facebook.
This weekend’s “Occupy Daily Prompt,” the DP Alternative, offered several photos to reflect on.