Salvador Dalí (Spanish, 1904–1989) enjoyed a long and prosperous career. A prolific artist, he was world-renowned for his carefully depicted, dreamlike imagery that conjured otherworldly landscapes populated with strange, mutating forms.
As noted in The Met publication Recent Acquisitions: A Selection, 1987–1988, “Dalí’s paintings feature intellectual puzzles and visual ambiguities, and his style is marked by its superrealistic illusionism used to describe completely unrealistic, fanciful subjects.”
With his signature piercing gaze and waxed mustache, the inveterate showman delighted in confounding expectations—through both his unsettling art and his eccentric persona. As the artist himself claimed in his 1964 autobiography, Diary of a Genius: “It is not necessary for the public to know whether I am joking or whether I am serious, just as it is not necessary for me to know it myself.”
Salvador Dali (detail). George Platt Lynes (American, 1907–1955). Gelatin silver print with applied pigment; 6 9/16 x 5 11/16 in.; 1939. David Hunter McAlpin Fund, 1941 41.65.28 © Estate of George Platt Lynes
Dali was associated with the Surrealist art movement from 1929 until 1941, as exemplified by his 1929 painting, The Accommodation of Desire, in The Met collection (shown at top), which manifests the Surrealist preoccupation with dreams and the unconscious. You can read an in-depth essay about Surrealism—and other celebrated artists connected with it, such as Man Ray, Max Ernst, André Masson, and René Magritte—on The Met website’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History.
Study for “Vogue” cover. Salvador Dalí (Spanish, 1904–1989). Ink, gouache, watercolor and graphite on cut and pasted papers; 16 x 10 3/4 in.; 1944. Gift of Melinda and Alexander Liberman, 1994 1994.591.4 © 2020 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
In keeping with the theme of the 2020 Costume Institute exhibition About Time: Fashion and Duration, we are offering a few clever designs based on the iconic melting clocks in Dalí’s famous 1931 work, The Persistence of Memory. (This Surrealist masterpiece is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.) Complementing the artful porcelain clock shown below, you’ll find an amusing porcelain bowl, coffee mug, and espresso cup and saucer—an easy way to lend a touch of modern art to your home decor. They also make great museum gift ideas for art lovers.
In addition to being represented in the collections of major international museums like The Met and MoMA, Dalí is also the subject of two museums devoted to his storied career: the Dalí-Theatre Museum, in his birthplace of Figueras, Spain, and the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Shop all our related About Time offerings here.