Sunday, August 12, 2012

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

Salvador Dali, the artist known for the melting clocks & eggs supported by crutches, has long been my favorite artist.  The question that most people ask is "Was he a madman or a genius?".  In an interview, he was asked what he had to say about his amazing contribution to art, and his response sounded modest, at first.  He claimed to have had no contribution and said that he was a very bad artist.  However, he then followed that statement, with a bold ego, saying that he was "too intelligent to be an artist," although, he did credit Velazquez as being a brilliant artist.  

Dali, the surrealist painter, sculpter, eccentric artist was born in 1904 and lived until 1989.  He had an older brother, also named Salvador, who died 9 months before Dali was born.   When Dali was FIVE years old, his parents took him to the grave site of his brother and told him that he was the REINCARNATION of his brother.  Dali believed this and many of his paintings have images of his brother in them.  (In 1963, he painted "Portrait of My Dead Brother.")

Salvador Dali was expelled from school, in 1926, and met Pablo Picasso.  Dali painted several works influenced by Picasso.  In 1935, he married Gala, who had been his muse since 1929.  Numerous paintings have Gala depicted in them.  Salvador even signed some of his paintings "Gala-Dali".  

Dali loved things that were "gilded and excessive;" he had a passion for luxury.  (See the photo of The Royal Heart done in 1953).  Anyone who looks at his paintings would probably conclude that he was an extremely imaginative and bizzare artist, but his eccentric public actions supposedly drew even more attention than his art.  He said that many people would ask him for his autograph, but he believed that they didn't know who he was or whether he was an artist, an actor, or singer, etc.

The Persistance of Memory (shown here) is probably Dali's best known painting.  However, if anyone believes his comment about not being a good artist, one should take a look at Madonna of Port Lligat (Second Version).  Examine the beautiful rendering of the feet and hands, etc.  He was definitely a "good artist" with an imagination that is hard to comprehend.  

At the age of 76, Dali became very ill when his senile wife, Gala, began giving him unprescribed medicine that damaged his nervous system.  His right hand trembled severely.  Gala died in 1982, at the age of 87, and Dali was too depressed to paint.  In 1984, his house caught on fire, and he lived out the remaining years in his "Theatre Museum" in the town of Figueres, in Catalonia, Spain.  This is where most of his paintings, sculptures, 3D collages, and mechanical devices are on display.  There is even a living room, with custom furniture, that looks like the face of Mae West, if you view it from afar.  He also has museums in London, Paris, and even St. Petersburg, Florida.

On January 23, 1989, Salvador Dali died of heart failure.  There are rumors that his guardians forced him to sign BLANK canvases to be used for forgeries!  So, was Salvador Dali a genius or a madman?  Maybe a little of both.  Maybe a lot of both.  It is my opinion that his work is that of a bizzare and brilliant artist! 

"Painting is an infinitely minute part of my personality."
Salvador Dali