Salvador Dalí born in Figueres (formerly Figueras), Spain, on May 11, 1904 in the district of Girona in Catalonia, the son of Salvador Dalí y Cusi, a notary, and Felipa Domènech.
Dalí begins his education at a private school run by the Brothers of the Marist Order in Figueres. On a summer vacation, he encounters modern paintings. He studies drawing under Professor Juan Nuñez at the Municipal School of Drawing in Figueres. First exhibition, at the family apartment. In 1918 the city of Figueres presents two exhibits of works arranged by Dalí’s father in the upper foyer of the Teatro Municipal, which is now converted into the Teatro Museo Dalí. Dalí experiments with impressionism and pointillism.
Below is a timeline of his career:
1919: Contributes articles and illustrations to the local review Studium, a college magazine, later published by the Institute of Figueres. Also publishes Quand les Bruits s’endorment (poems).
1921-22: Dalí’s mother dies in February. He attends the San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid, and lives there. While there, he meets Federico García Lorca and Luis Buñuel. Exhibits paintings in a student art show at the Dalmau Gallery, Barcelona. Experiments with cubism.
1923: Dalí criticizes his lectures and is suspended from the San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts on the charge of inciting a student rebellion against school authorities.
1924: Dalí imprisoned for 35 days in Girona for alleged subversion. Illustrates Les Bruixes de Llers by C. Fages de Climent.
1925: Lorca stays with the Dalí family. Dalí returns to the San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid. His first one-man show is held at the Dalmau Gallery in Barcelona. Numerous contributions to Gaseta de les Artes. Receives considerable local notice as a leading young Catalan painter.
1926: In April, his first trip to Brussels and Paris with his aunt and his sister, Ana María, where he visits Picasso and Miró. His second one-man show held at the Dalmau Gallery in Barcelona. Dalí expelled from the San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts for refusal to take his final examination on grounds that he knows more than the professor that will quiz him.
1927: Dalí called to the Castle of San Fernando to do nine months of military service. Does theatre designs, including Lorca’s Mariana Pineda. Collaborates regularly on the journal L’Amic de les Arts, in which his first major written work, “Saint Sebastian,” appears. Dalí is visited by Miró, who encourages him to establish himself in Paris.
1928: On Dalí’s second visit to Paris, Miró introduces him to Dadaists and Surrealists group. Publishes the Manifest Groc (“Yellow Manifesto”) in Sitges, Spain, with Lluís Montañyá and Sebastià Gasch. Participates in the annual International Exhibition of Paintings at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, exhibiting The Basket of Bread, which is consequently purchased. Executes a series of gravel collages revealing the influence of Gris, Picasso, Ernst, Miró, Arp, and other contemporaries.
1929: Dalí first meets Gala Éluard when she visits Cadaqués in the summer with her husband, the French poet Paul Éluard. She will become Dalí’s lover, his muse, and inspiration, when he seduces her, leading to a break with his father. Also, through Miró, meets Tristan Tzara. Exhibitions in Zürich. Dalí’s first one-man show in Paris, at Goeman’s Gallery. Un Chien Andalou, for which Dalí and Luis Buñuel wrote the scenario, is shown at the Ursulines Film Studio in Paris “amid much scandal and sensation.” Banished from home. Contributes seven articles to L’Amic de les Arts, including “Review of Antiartistic Tendencies,” a veritable defense of La Revue Surréaliste, in which Dalí takes a strong stand against all academicism.
1930: Vicomte de Noialles buys The Old Age of William Tell. Energetically involved with the Surrealist group and designs the frontpiece for the Second Surrealist Manifesto. Publishes in the magazine Le Surréalisme au Service de la Révolution a long poem-manifest, “L’Âne Pourri,” in which he expounds his theory of the paranoiac-critical process of thought. Writes and illustrates La Femme Visible (published in Edition Surréalistes, Paris) dedicated to Gala. Buys a fisherman’s cottage at Port Lligat, and later spends a large portion of each year there with Gala. Collaborated with Luis Buñuel on the scenario of L’Âge d’Or. This film, which caused a scandal, was shown at Studio 28 in Paris. The League of Patriots and others rioted in protest against the film, destroying many surrealist works exhibited in the lobby. The film was finally banned.
1931: Writes and publishes Love and Memory in Editions Surréalistes. Exhibit at the Pierre Colle Gallery in Paris.
1932: The Persistence of Memory is first exhibited in a surrealist retrospective at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York, first exhibition is the States. Dalí writes a scenario, Babaouo, which was never filmed. This work contains a critique on the cinema and an essay on William Tell. Pierre Colle Gallery presents a one-man show.
1933: Collectors and friends form “The Zodiaque” group, whose purpose is to subsidize the Catalan artist. Julien Levy Gallery organizes Dalí’s first one-man show in the United States, in New York. Dalí continues to collaborate with the magazines Le Surréalisme au Service de la Revolution and Minotaure. In the latter, he publishes his article on “edible beauty” and art nouveau architecture, which revives interest in the aesthetics of the turn of the century. His first surrealist works shown in Spain, at the Galerie Catalane in Barcelona.
1934: The Enigma of William Tell offends the Surrealist group, and leads to arguments with André Breton. Gala and Dalí are married in a civil ceremony on January 30. Dalí’s first one-man show in London is held at the Zwemmer Gallery. Dalí expelled from the Surrealist movement but continues as a peripheral figure. Produces 42 etchings to illustrate Les Chants de Maldoror by Comte de Lautréamont for Albert Skira. Dalí and Gala make their first trip to New York, and his series of special illustrations of the city appears in the American Weekly from February to July. Exhibits at Julien Levy Gallery on Madison Avenue in New York is a great success.
1935: Julien Levy publishes The Conquest of the Irrational in New York and Paris. This major essay expounds on Dalí’s “paranoiac-critical” method, a “spontaneous method of irrational knowledge, based on the interpretive-critical association of delirious phenomena.” Dalí lectures at the Museum of Modern Art on “Surrealist Paintings and Paranoiac Images.”
1936: Dalí gives a lecture in a diving suit on the occasion of the International Surrealist Exhibition in London. Spanish Civil War forces Dalí to leave Spain. Signs a contract with the English collector Edward F.W. James, whose patronage will subsidize Dalí’s career through 1938. Dalí appears on the cover of Times magazine in December, on the occasion of the “Fantastic Art, Dada, and Surrealism” exhibition at the New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Paints Autumn Cannibalism and Soft Construction with Boiled Beans: Premonition of Civil War.
1937: Dalí visits Harpo Marx in Hollywood to write the scenario for Giraffes on Horseback Salad. Writes “The Metamorphoses of Narcissus,” a paranoiac poem illustrating his double-image painting of the same name. In three visits to Italy, he studies Palladio and is increasingly influenced by the Renaissance and baroque painters. Dalí designs dresses and hats for Elsa Schiaparelli. Breton and the Surrealists condemn his comments on Hitler.
1938: Dalí introduced to the ailing Sigmund Freud by Stefan Zweig in London, and draws numerous portraits of him. Participates in the International Surrealist Exhibition in Paris, showing Rainy Taxi, then drifts away from the Surrealist movement, asserting “L’Surréalisme—C’est moi!”