Top 10 Things You Should Know About Salvador Dalí

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There’s no denying that Salvador Dalí was one of the most recognizable figures of the 20th century. You’ve admired his mustache, marveled at his unusual behavior, and likely have his iconic melting clocks ingrained in your memory, but did you know that Dalí invented the Chupa Chups logo? Neither did we. From his fascination with cauliflower to his infatuation with exotic pets, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten things you should know about the Surrealist artist.

1. Salvador Dalí believed he was the reincarnation of his older brother.

Before Dalí was born, his mother had given birth to another child, also named Salvador Dalí, who later died of a stomach infection at 22 months old. Since the second Salvador Dalí so closely resembled the first, when the artist was just five years old, his parents took him to his deceased brother’s grave and told him they believed he was the reincarnation of his own brother.

2.He may (or may not) be a father

Earlier this year, more than two decades after Dalí’s death, Pilar Abel, a 58-year-old astrologist from Girona, Spain, filed a paternity suit in a Madrid court, claiming to be the artist’s daughter. She also asked the court to allow the exhumation of the surrealist painter’s remains for DNA testing. Interestingly enough, this wasn’t the first time Abel tried to prove she was Dalí’s daughter. In 2007 and 2008, she had DNA testing done using hair and skin remains from Dalí’s death mask, but the results were inconclusive.

museum2 Image Left: Salvador Dalí, Gala Contemplating The Mediterranean Sea, 1976, The Dalí Museum Image Right: Salvador Dalí, The Hallucinogenic Toreador, 1969-70, The Dalí Museum

 

3. Dalí had some tricks for inspiring creativity.

Often, Dalí would stand on his head until he almost passed out, inducing hallucinations as inspiration. His most famous technique, referred to as the “Paranoiac-Critical Method”, involved a kind of self-induced psychosis that allowed the artist to draw irrational relationships between unconnected objects to depict the inner-workings of his own subconscious mind.

4. Dalí had quite an unusual marriage.

Dalí met the love of his life, Gala, in 1929, while she was still married to the French poet, Paul Eluard. After divorcing Eluard, Gala married Dalí in 1934. She became his muse and his business manager, forming a partnership so strong that Dalí would frequently sign his artwork with both of their names. In 1968, Dalí bought Gala a castle in Pubpol, Spain, which he was only permitted to visit by written invitation. Regardless of Gala’s numerous extramarital affairs, the two remained together until her death in 1982.

daligalafinal Images from left to right: Gala and Dalí during the period of writing 50 Secrets Magic Craftsmanship in Del Monte Lodge Hotel, 1947; O. Maspons, J. Ubiña, Dalí and Gala in Portlligat, 1958; Cecil Beaton, Dalí and Gala with A Couple with Their Heads Full of Clouds, 1936 (Dalí Foundation)

 

5. Dalí had a thing for strange pets.

In the 1960s, Dali acquired a pet ocelot named Babou. The animal accompanied him on a leash-studded collar nearly everywhere he went, including a luxury cruise on the SS France. Dalí was also once photographed walking an anteater.

6. He found deep meaning in cauliflower.

In December 1955, the self-proclaimed madman borrowed a friend’s white Rolls Royce Phantom II, filled it to the roof with 1,100 pounds of cauliflower, and drove the car from Spain to the Sorbonne in Paris to deliver a lecture impossibly titled, Phenomenological Aspects of the Paranoiac Critical Method. The reasoning was, he later told an audience of 2,000, that “everything ends up in the cauliflower!”. Three years later, during an interview with American journalist Mike Wallace, Dalí explained that he was attracted to the cauliflower’s “logarithmic curve”.

pets Image Left: Salvador Dalí walking an Anteater, Photo: OpposingViews Image Right: Salvador Dalí and Babou the ocelot, Photo: Roger Higgins, World Telegram staff photographer- Library of Congress. New York World- Telegram & Sun Collection.

 

7. He designed the Chupa Chups logo

In 1969, the Spanish confectioner, Chupa Chups, approached Dalí to design a new logo for their world famous lollipop. He agreed and designed the logo, incorporating the Chupa Chups name into a brightly colored daisy shape. The savvy businessman that he was, Dalí also suggested that the Chupa Chups logo be placed on the top of the lollipop wrapper, rather than on the side, so it could always be seen intact. The logo has largely remained the same ever since.

8. He was briefly employed by Disney

In 1945, Walt Disney approached Dalí to collaborate with him on a short film entitled Destino, which would be part of one of Disney’s anthology features. Unfortunately, Disney stopped production on the short film after it would be financially unsuccessful. Fifty-seven years later, Disney’s nephew, Roy E. Disney, put the film back in production. It premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in 2003 and can currently be viewed on Youtube.

banner1 Image Left: Salvador Dalí, The First Day of Spring, 1929, The Dalí Museum Image Right: Salvador Dalí, The Disintegration of Persistence of Memory, 1952-54, The Dalí Museum

 

9. Dalí’s work was once displayed at Rikers Island

The piece, a watercolor and charcoal rendering of the Crucifixion, was signed and donated by the artist to the inmates at the New York City penitentiary in 1965. After gracing the prison’s walls for almost 40 years, in March 2003, the drawing was stolen. It has yet to be recovered.

10. Dalí passed away in his own museum.

Inaugurated in 1974, Spain’s Figueres Teatre-Museum Dalí, home to more than 1,500 works created throughout Dalí’s career, is considered to be the artist’s last great work. After retirement, Dalí moved to the museum’s town, where on January 23rd, 1989, he passed away from heart failure.

Featured Image: Spanish Surrealist painter Salvador Dalí in his studio in Port Lligat with his painting of Christ on the cross. Original Publication: Picture Post-5587-We Visit Dalí-pub. 1951 Original Publication: People Disc – HW0317 (Photo by Daniel Farson/Getty Images)