by Lauren Stewart-Ebert
On October 18th, the Hotel Drouot in Paris held an amazing auction in tribute to the Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dalí. Featuring a multitude of photographs and objets d’art, the collection chronicled an intriguing and surreal life.
He was born in 1904 in Figueres, Spain nine months after the death of his older brother, also named Salvador. When he was five, Dalí’s parents told him he was the reincarnation of his deceased brother.
On the subject of his brother, Dalí said, “We resembled each other like two drops of water, but we had different reflections.”
In 1922, Dalí began his studies of art in Madrid, where he became friends with Federico García Lorca (and rejected the poets’ advances). He was expelled from the academy several years later when he said that no one on the faculty was competent enough to examine him.
He met his muse and future wife, Gala, in 1929. His father greatly disapproved as Gala was already married and eleven years Dalí ‘s senior. This ended Dalí’s relationship with his father but began the most passionate and prolific period of the artist’s life.
In 1931, Dalí painted what would be his most famous work, “The Persistence of Memory.” The melting clocks in this painting would later be re-imagined as beautiful crystal sculptures by Daum.
From 1954 to 1974 a series of photographers worked with Dalí on various occasions, including Robert Whitaker (best know for his work with the Beatles), Lucien Clergue, and Jean-Marie Perier.
The persona of Salvador Dalí was well accounted for in these photos.
When Gala passed away in 1982, Dalí lost his will to live and on several occasions was thought to have attempted suicide. In 1989, Dali died of heart failure in his home town of Figueres. He was buried at the Teatro Museo in Figueres only a few blocks from the Church of Sant Pere, where he was baptized as a child.
Dali was admired as both an artist and an eccentric. Perhaps the legacy of Dalí was best summed up by Dalí himself in an interview with Mike Wallace: