Salvador Dalì is one of the most iconic artists of the 20th century, however there is a lot more to the artist than his surrealist art work and trademark moustache.
Eccentric, divisive and visionary are just a few words to describe Spanish artist Salvador Dalí, and it’s hard to say if there are any number of words that could encapsulate his complex extravagance. With a colourful past and an extensive body of work, there’s so much to learn about the surrealist painter. Discover 6 interesting things about Salvador Dalì that you didn’t know below.
Dali painting in a zoo (Image credit: latimes.com)
6 Things you didn’t know about Salvador Dalì
1. He was expelled from art school twice
In his 1942 autobiography The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí, the artist wrote that he was expelled because he wouldn’t sit for his oral exams. “I am infinitely more intelligent than these three professors, and I therefore refuse to be examined by them. I know this subject much too well.” But the expulsion didn’t slow him down, that same year he traveled to Paris for the first time and met his idol, Pablo Picasso.
2. He believed he was the reincarnation of his dead brother
Dali’s mother gave birth to her first son in 1901, a child that she named Salvador and who died of gastroenteritis at 22 months old. Nine months after the child’s death, the Salvador we know was born, and took his dead brother’s name. Dali was told by his parents at the age of five that he was the reincarnation of his brother, a belief he carried into his adult life.
3. Dali nearly died while giving a lecture
Dali was famed for his gregarious stunts, however on one occasion it almost killed him. Dali decided to deliver his lecture at the 1936 London International Surrealist Exhibition dressed in an antique diving suit, representing him delving into the sea of his subconscious. When he began to suffocate inside the soundproof suit, his audience thought it was part of an elaborate performance.
4. He designed the Chupa Chups Logo
Dalí had no issue participating in commercial work. He designed ads for Gap and even appeared in a commercial for Lanvin chocolates in 1968. However, one of his most enduring contributions to graphic design is the Chupa Chups logo. Dalí designed the logo for the Spanish lollipop brand in 1969, and it is still used today.
5. Dali built his own museum
In the 1960s, the mayor ofDalí’s hometown, Figueres, Spain, asked the artist to donate a piece to the city’s art museum, Museu de l’Empordà. Instead, he declared he would donate an entire museum. He began refurbishing the Figueres Municipal Theatre, which was almost entirely destroyed during the Spanish Civil War, and turned it into the Salvador Dalí Theatre-Museum.
6. He paid his restaurant bills in doodles
Thrifty and clever, Dalí found an innovative way get out of paying for a meal. It’s said that when he dined with a large group of friends, he would offer to pay the bill. However, he’d then pay with a check, but include a doodle on the back knowing that the check would never get cashed seeing as the doodle he’d left was infinitely more valuable.
Work by Salvador Dalì at Trinity House
Auto Portrait du jeune Salvador Dali et deux femmes, 1925
Size: 3.81 x 5.98 inches (9.67 x 15.18 cm)