"At the age of six
I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon.
And my ambition has
been growing steadily ever since." Salvador
Chateau La Tour Apollinaire we are mad about Salvador Dali.
To us he represents the iconoclastic spirit which
has been so essential in moving from the perils of modernity
to the promise of post-modernism. And how lucky we are
that two of the museums which best represent his work and
times are within 40 minutes (Figueras) and an hour's
(Port Lligat) drive.
Simply turn left out of our front gates and head onto
the A9 toward Barcelona. Within 30 minutes you will be
crossing the Spanish border and a further ten minutes will
bring you to Figueras north offramp, after which you follow
the signs to the centre of town. Before entering Figueras,
you will see the geodesic Buckminster Fuller style dome
which crowns the Teatro Museo Dali. Park in one of the
numerous parking garages, and follow the signs to the museum.
As the attached pictures reveal, it is possible to spend
an entire morning or afternoon enjoying the surreal and
often hilarious atmosphere and works Dali spent 15 years
creating here. There are also some great shops and excellent
restaurants nearby, so take a leisurely lunch before heading
off to see Dali's home and studios at Port Lligat,
To get to Port Lligat, simply follow the signs out of
Figueras to Rosas and Cadaques. When you get to Cadaques
you will see signs to Port Lligat, which is actually an
ancient fishing village set on the azure Mediterannean,
with the most amazing light. Dali joked that he was the
first person to see the sun rise in Spain, as his bedroom
faced east toward the nearby Spanish border with France.
He would start working at sunrise and often not stop until
sunset. After cocktails he and Gala would receive everyone
from John Lennon and Yoko Ono to the King of Spain to Andy
Warhol to Jack Warner and Helena Rubinstein
Salvador (1904-89): Spanish painter, sculptor, graphic
artist, and designer. After passing through phases of Cubism,
Futurism and Metaphysical painting, he joined the Surrealists
in 1929 and his talent for self-publicity rapidly made
him the most famous representative of the movement. Throughout
his life he cultivated eccentricity and exhibitionism (one
of his most famous acts was appearing in a diving suit
at the opening of the London Surrealist exhibition in 1936),
claiming that this was the source of his creative energy.
He took over the Surrealist theory of automatism but transformed
it into a more positive method which he named `critical
paranoia'. According to this theory one should cultivate
genuine delusion as in clinical paranoia while remaining
residually aware at the back of one's mind that the control
of the reason and will has been deliberately suspended.
He claimed that this method should be used not only in
artistic and poetical creation but also in the affairs
of daily life. His paintings employed a meticulous academic
technique that was contradicted by the unreal `dream' space
he depicted and by the strangely hallucinatory characters
of his imagery. He described his pictures as `hand-painted
dream photographs' and had certain favorite and recurring
images, such as the human figure with half-open drawers
protruding from it, burning giraffes, and watches bent
and flowing as if made from melting wax (The Persistence
of Memory, MOMA, New York; 1931).
In 1937 Dalí visited Italy
and adopted a more traditional style; this together with
his political views (he was a
supporter of General Franco) led Breton to expel him from
the Surrealist ranks. He moved to the USA in 1940 and remained
there until 1955. During this time he devoted himself largely
to self-publicity; his paintings were often on religious
themes (The Crucifixion of St John of the Cross,
Glasgow Art Gallery, 1951), although sexual subjects and
pictures centring on his wife Gala were also continuing
preoccupations. In 1955 he returned to Spain and in old
age became a recluse.
Apart from painting, Dalí's output included sculpture,
book illustration, jewellery design, and work for the theatre.
In collaboration with the director Luis Buñuel he
also made the first Surrealist films 'Un chien andalou'
(1929) and 'L'Age d'or' (1930) and he contributed
a dream sequence to Alfred Hitchcock's 'Spellbound' (1945).
He also wrote a novel, Hidden Faces (1944) and several
volumes of flamboyant autobiography. Although he is undoubtedly
one of the most famous artists of the 20th century, his
status is controversial; many critics consider that he
did little if anything of consequence after his classic
Surrealist works of the 1930s. There are museums devoted
to Dalí's work in Figueras, his home town in Spain,
and in St Petersburg in Florida.
1904: Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dalí was
born on May, 11th in Figueras, Catalonia, Spain.
1917: He started to visit the School of Art. First paintings.
1918: First small exhibition in the Theatre.
1921-25: Went to Academy of Arts in Madrid. Conflicts with
1925: First stand-alone exibition of Dalí at the
Galery of Dalmau.
1926-28: Early explorations of the Surrealism. Dalí in
1929: Gala came into his life. Joined the group of Surrealists
in 1930 Gala 1927, and Dalí 1929
1934-37: Dalí had his paranoid-critic-epoch. Dalí and
Gala marry in 1937
1941-44: "Avida Dollars" in America.
1945-49: Dalí the Classic. Dalí and his
Daddy in Cadaqués 1948
1950-65: His mystic period. He wrote several books (The
secret life of Salvador Dalí).
1963-78: Dalí the Divine - Dalí and the
1979-83: Theory of Disaster.
1982: Gala dies.
1989: Dalí, Jan. 23th, died.
- The problem with the youth of today' is that one is
no longer part of it.
- Drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility
of cheating. It is either good or bad.
- When the creations of a genius collide with the mind
of a layman, and produce an empty sound, there is little
doubt as to which is at fault.
- You have to systematically create confusion, it sets
creativity free. Everything that is contradictory creates
- People love mystery, and that is why they love my paintings.
- When I paint, the sea roars. The others splash about
in the bath.
- One day it will have to be officially admitted that
what we have christened reality is an even greater illusion
than the world of dreams.
- The desire to survive and the fear of death are artistic
- At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I
wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing
steadily ever since.
- Have no fear of perfection, you'll never reach it.
- You know the worst thing is freedom. Freedom of any
kind is the worst for creativity.
- Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce