15 Fascinating Facts About Salvador Dalí

It’s interesting to note that Salvador Dalí believed he was the embodiment of his deceased older brother.

Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dalí y Domenech, or Salvador Dalí, was born on May 11, 1904 in Figueras, Spain.

He passed away at the age of 84 on January 23, 1989 in his hometown near the French border with Catalonia.

Salvador Dalí is most well-known for his contribution to the art world, particularly the surrealist movement.

Moreover, Dalí’s quirky personality and eccentric lifestyle were just as noteworthy as his artwork.

He always added a distinctive touch to everything he did and made it undeniably “Dalí-esque.”

Let’s take a closer look at what made Dalí the man he was, his legacy, and what was so distinctive and peculiar about his character.

Salvador Dalí fancied himself the embodiment of his deceased older brother.

Dalí’s older brother, Salvador Dalí, was born almost three years before him and shared the same name.

Unfortunately, Dalí’s older brother passed away on August 1, 1903, due to a stomach ailment, just nine months before Dalí’s birth.

As a result, Dalí’s parents took his birth as a sign and believed that he was the reincarnation of his older brother.

At the age of 5, they took Dalí to visit his brother’s grave and shared their belief in reincarnation with him, which he subsequently accepted.

Salvador Dalí had a challenging childhood that shaped his life.

Salvador Dalí y Cuci, Dalí’s father, was a very strict man and raised Dalí in a highly disciplinary manner.

However, his mother Felipa had a completely different approach and supported Dalí’s artistic tendencies and eccentricities.

As a result of his father’s severe punishments and his mother’s overwhelming affection, it’s no wonder that he ended up being somewhat of an oddball.

Salvador Dalí’s prodigious talent was evident from a young age.

By the time Dalí was 12, his parents had already recognized his burgeoning talent as an artist and sent him to art school.

However, instead of focusing on his studies, he embraced his eccentricity and played the fool.

After his first year, his father held a private exhibition of Dalí’s charcoal drawings in their home.

At the age of 15, he publicly exhibited his work for the first time at the Municipal Theater in Figueres.

Initially, Dalí was more famous for his eccentricity than his art.

In 1922, Dalí relocated from Figueres to Madrid to study painting at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando.

This was the first time that he felt truly free to express himself, and he quickly gained notoriety for his eccentricity.

He was typically referred to as a Dandy, as he had long hair, sideburns, and dressed in a style similar to the dandies of 19th century Britain.

Salvador Dalí faced expulsion from art school twice

Dalí was a notorious troublemaker during his time at Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando. In 1923, he was expelled for leading a student protest. Although he was allowed to return, he was expelled once more in 1926 just before his final exam. This time, his expulsion was permanent after he declared his examiners were not as intelligent as he was.

Dalí’s relationship with his father was strained

Dalí’s father disapproved of his son’s relationship with Gala, who was still married to Paul Éluard. However, their relationship reached a breaking point when Dalí drew a sketch and wrote about spitting on his mother’s portrait.

The Persistence of Memory is Dalí’s most famous work

The Persistence of Memory is one of the most famous surrealist artworks ever created. Dalí created this painting in 1931 and attributed melting clocks to a surrealist perception of a camembert melting in the sun.

Dalí was shunned by surrealists

Dalí’s surrealist works, including The Persistence of Memory, played a significant role in his fame. However, he was eventually removed from the surrealist movement due to his ambivalent attitudes towards fascism and apologetic nature towards Hitler.

Dalí married his friend’s wife

Dalí met his future wife, Gala, when she was married to his friend Paul Éluard. Paul and Gala divorced, and Dalí and Gala got married in Paris in 1934.

Dalí had a pet ocelot

Dalí’s pet ocelot, Babou, accompanied him almost everywhere he went on a leash, including restaurants and the luxury ocean liner, the SS France.

Dalí was obsessed with money

Dalí was known for his extreme efforts to acquire money, earning him the nickname Avida Dollars (an anagram of his name). He even designed the logo for Chupa Chups lollipops.

Salvador Dalí used drawings to pay for his meals.

Dalí had a smart trick to avoid paying for his restaurant bills. He would write a check to the restaurant, but then draw on it, hoping that nobody would cash it due to the value of the artwork on it.

Salvador Dalí collaborated with Walt Disney on a film.

In 1946, Walt Disney hired Dalí to work on a film called Destino, where Dalí’s artwork was combined with Disney’s character animation. The film was finally completed in 2003 by Walt Disney’s nephew, Roy E. Disney, after 8 months of non-stop work and financial issues.

Salvador Dalí bought a castle for his wife.

In 1968, Dalí bought a castle for his wife Gala, who accepted it under the condition that he would need written permission from her to visit her there. She spent many weeks there, leading some to speculate that she just needed a break from the craziness of it all.

Salvador Dalí built a museum for himself and died in it.

The mayor of Dalí’s hometown asked him for a piece of his art, but he ended up rebuilding the municipal theater where he held his first exhibition into a museum dedicated to himself and his works. He lived in the museum for the last few years of his life and died there in 1989.

Salvador Dalí was an enigmatic and thought-provoking artist who made his own way without caring what people thought. He left a big impact on the world, and what we’ve shared here is just a glimpse of his eccentric life.


1. Who was Salvador Dalí?

Salvador Dalí was a Spanish surrealist artist who was born on May 11, 1904, in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain. He was known for his bizarre and unique paintings, sculptures, and other works of art.

2. What is surrealism?

Surrealism is an art movement that started in the 1920s. It is characterized by strange and dreamlike images and often involves the use of unexpected combinations of objects and ideas.

3. What inspired Dalí’s art?

Dalí was inspired by many things including his dreams, his subconscious mind, and his interest in science and mathematics. He also drew inspiration from the works of other artists such as Hieronymus Bosch and Johannes Vermeer.

4. What are some of Dalí’s most famous paintings?

Dalí’s most famous paintings include The Persistence of Memory, The Elephants, and The Hallucinogenic Toreador. These paintings are known for their bizarre and dreamlike imagery.

5. What is The Persistence of Memory?

The Persistence of Memory is a painting that features melting clocks and a landscape that appears to be in a state of decay. It is one of Dalí’s most famous works and is often interpreted as a commentary on the fleeting nature of time.

6. What is The Hallucinogenic Toreador?

The Hallucinogenic Toreador is a painting that features a bullfighter, a bull, and many other strange and surreal elements. It is one of Dalí’s most complex works and is often interpreted as a commentary on the dangers of bullfighting.

7. What is Dalí’s most famous sculpture?

Dalí’s most famous sculpture is called The Mae West Lips Sofa. It is a sofa that is shaped like a pair of lips and was inspired by the famous actress Mae West.

8. Was Dalí involved in any other artistic endeavors besides painting and sculpture?

Yes, Dalí was also involved in film, theater, and fashion. He collaborated with other artists on several films and designed costumes for various theatrical productions.

9. What is the Dalí Theatre-Museum?

The Dalí Theatre-Museum is a museum that is dedicated to the life and works of Salvador Dalí. It is located in Figueres, Spain, and features many of the artist’s paintings, sculptures, and other works of art.

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