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Learn more about Salvador Dali
Salvador Dali was born in Figueras, Spain, the son of a notary whose
family came from Cadaques on the Costa Brava. The Dali family spent their summers in Cadaques, and it is this landscape that appears over and over in the artist's work, either as background or as an integral part of the composition. Dali began his career as an enfant terrible in the schools of Figueras and then went to the School of Fine Arts in Madrid where he quickly learned the fundamentals of drawing. At this time, however, he was more interested in studying Freud and art magazines that specialized in Cubism, Futurism, and metaphysical art. In about 1928, he went to Paris, attached himself with passionate conviction to the French Surrealists and soon married Gala Eluard, former wife of the poet Paul Eluard, one of the founders of the movement. However, as Dali became absorbed in the study of Italian Renaissance painters, the French Surrealists rejected his style as too academic in technique and, thus, he left France for New York.
Dali's work is distinguished by precise and finely executed draughtsmanship of almost photographic exactitude. Paint is applied smoothly and evenly
in a varied and generally muted palette that occasionally breaks out into glaring color. His subject matter is that of the Freudian dream world and of metamorphosis of objects, people, and animals, arranged in unexpected and often inexplicable combinations. A prodigious worker, Dali has produced large quantities of paintings that include portraits, landscapes with figures, figures seemingly superimposed on landscapes, and, more recently, religious subjects. He has also done illustrations for books, lithographs and etchings, and jewelry designs.