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Salvador Dalí

Rebelling against the ideas of rationalism brought on through the course of the Enlightenment, Surrealism was rooted in the principal that the irrational, unconscious self was the basis for mankind’s creative potential. Provoked by the psychoanalytical theories of Sigmund Freud, Surrealists believed the source of this creativity was to be discovered by tapping into the unconscious through interpretations of dreams. Arguably the most groundbreaking artist who encapsulated these ideas was Salvador Dalí.

The artist, who would have celebrated his 114th birthday on this day, was no stranger to eccentricities. Surrealism sought to pair together images that were unfamiliar to each other. Having studied at the National School of Fine Arts in Madrid, Dalí was well versed in formal art education, and therefore had a plethora of images to abnormally pair later on in his career. His tendency for the outlandish both in his Surrealist artwork and life lead to the development of a long list of historians, researchers, and appreciators all who claim to understand the artist better than the next. He is known as being the artist who brought Surrealism to the public. In doing so, he became one of the most reproduced artists to date.

His public recognition, paired with his love for fame and monetary success lead him to actively create work up until 1980. From painted pieces, to doodles on the backs of checks, the outlets for getting your hands on an original work from Salvador Dalí seemed innumerable. The artist was also known to have signed blank pages of paper for profit. Stories such as these are why the authentication of the artist’s work is often so difficult.

Despite a period of political differences with the Surrealists, a series of outrage inducing film releases, and even a post mortem paternity scandal, Salvador Dalí is best known for his ability to capture the intricacies of the human experience, specifically our fear and fragility. He was a man with big ideas and an even bigger mustache. His fearlessness when it came to pushing the boundaries of art is what cemented his place as one of the great shapers of art history.

Abrams, Amah-Rose. “10 Curious Facts on Salvador Dalí's Birthday.” Artnet News, Artnet News, 11 May 2015,

Brennan, Ailis. “11 Seriously Strange Things You Didn't Know about Salvador Dali.” GQ, British GQ, 11 Sept. 2017,

Maneker, Marion. “Those Darned Dalís.” Art Market Monitor, Art Market Monitor , 31 Aug. 2009,

Mann, Jon. “What You Need to Know about Surrealism, beyond Dalí.” Artsy, Artsy, 23 Sept. 2016,

Russell, John. “Salvador Dali, Pioneer Surrealist, Dies at 84.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 24 Jan. 1989,

“Salvador Dali (1904-1989).” The Legacy of Pablo Picasso and His Art., Art Experts ,

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