Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí y Domènech, Marquis of Pubol, was born in Catalonia on May 11, 1904, and died on January 23, 1989. Best known as a surrealist painter, his artistic output also included film, sculpture, photography and writing. Dalí is also notorious for his eccentric behaviour and his involvement with the Dada movement, which often drew more attention to himself than his art.
In this new narrative exploration of Salvador Dalí, highly respected art and literary historian Mary Ann Caws surveys the life and work of one of the most fascinating and colourful figures in the history of art. She recounts the influence of the Catalan region and dialect on his early life, as well as his expulsions from school and from the School of Fine Arts in Madrid; his involvement with the Surrealists, and his work with Buñuel and their films Un chien andalou and L’Age d’or, and the impact and reception of both films at the time. Dalí’s turbulent personal life brought him into contact with a rich assortment of intellectual figures and Caws considers his relationships with his family and his lovers, including Elena Diakonova (Gala), who was married to the poet Paul Eluard when they met, and friends such as poet Federico García Lorca.
Caws also closely examines Dalí’s work: his famous Surrealist paintings, ‘hand-painted dream photographs’ such as The Persistence of Memory and Autumnal Cannibalism?, as well as his writing, photography, sculpture and film.
Well-researched, and full of telling anecdotes, Salvador Dalí will appeal to the large readership who are already familiar with this extraordinary artist, as well as to those who have heard much and wish to know more about the life and work of this pivotal figure in modern art.
‘Mary Ann Caws has established herself as an authority of surrealism and the artists who make up its membership. Her account of Dali’s life is further testament to her long-standing fascination for, and extensive research into some of the most influential and iconic movements and artists to emerge from modernity . . . Caws does offer unique insight into Dali’s life, and the book is consistently interesting and entertaining, providing the novice with a good introduction, and the Dali lover a variant perspective.’ – Media/Culture
Mary Ann Caws is Distinguished Professor of English, French and Comparative Literature at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She has written many books on art and literature including Picasso’s Weeping Woman: The Life and Art of Dora Maar (2000), Virginia Woolf: Illustrated Life (2002), Marcel Proust: Illustrated Life (2003), Robert Motherwell with Pen and Brush (Reaktion, 2003), and Pablo Picasso (Reaktion, 2005).