Biography Salvador Dali, 1904-1989

In the U.S.A.

In 1933 Salvador Dali had his first one-man show in New York. One year later he visited the U.S. for the first time supported by a loan of US$500 from Pablo Picasso. To evade World War II, Dali chose the U.S.A. as his permanent residence in 1940. He had a series of spectacular exhibitions, among others a great retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Dali became the darling of the American High Society. Celebrities like Jack Warner or Helena Rubinstein gave him commissions for portraits. His art works became a popular trademark and besides painting he pursued other activities – jewelry and clothing designs for Coco Chanel or film making with Alfred Hitchcock.

The Classic Period After World War II

In 1948 Dali and Gala returned to Europe, spending most of their time either in their residence in Lligat/Spain or in Paris/France or in New York. Dali developed a lively interest in science, religion and history. The most famous painting from this period, The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus, can be seen at the Dali Museum in St.Petersburg in Florida. The artist’s late art works combine more than ever his perfect and meticulous painting technique with his fantastic and limitless imaginations.

Death in His Own Museum

Salvador Dali is the only known artist who had two museums dedicated exclusively to his works at lifetime. * The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg in Florida/U.S.A. This art museum was founded in 1971 by the Dali collector A. Reynolds Morse and his wife Eleanor. The collection was first exhibited in a building adjacent to their home in Cleveland/Ohio. In 1982, the museum was moved to St. Petersburg in Florida. It hosts 95 oil paintings including six of Dali’s eighteen large-sized historical paintings. * Dali Museum-Theater in Figueres, Spain The Museum was the former Municipal Theater of Figueres. In 1918, when Salvador Dali was only fourteen years old, it had shown his first public exhibition. In 1980 Dali was forced to retire due to palsy, a motor disorder, that caused a permanent trembling and weakness of his hands. He was not able to hold a brush any more. The fact that he could not follow his vocation and passion of painting and the news of Gala’s death in 1982 left him with deep depressions. After Gala’s death he moved to Pubol, a castle, he had bought and decorated for Gala. In 1984, when he was lying in bed, a fire broke out and he suffered sever burns. Two years later, a pacemaker had to be implanted. Towards the end of his life, Dali lived in the tower of his own museum where he died on January 23, 1989 from heart failure.