Issue 206
Winter 2018/19

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Jan 17, 2019

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ArtWork Newspaper Issue 206
Winter 2018/19 (6.5MB)

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A life less secret – if still surreal

ONE MORE book to add to the shelf occupied by that world-famous eccentric and extraordinary artist who is Salvador Dalí (1904-1989). This latest one includes a massive amount of intriguing material previously unpublished, beginning with the births of his grandfather and his father in Cadaqués where the young Dalí grew up and where he eventually lived and had his studio at Port Lligat.

The author has lived in Catalonia for 15 years researching the life of Dalí, meeting friends and associates, visiting galleries where he showed and gleaning information from the many other accounts of his life. Details of all these contacts are listed. There are over 130 full colour illustrations of his works, along with personal photographs. Also superb photographs of Cadaqués, Port Lligat and of the Catalonian landscape as it is today.

Those who know this mountainous region with its dramatic coastline, rock formations and ancient pines with sheer drops to the sea along the way to Cap de Creus will begin to understand from where the young Dalí found the inspiration for his unique Surrealist style of painting. "'I am not a Surrealist, I am Surrealism. Surrealism is not a party or a label; it is a state of mind, unique, to each his own, that can be affected by no party line, taboo, or mortality. It is the total freedom to be and the right to absolute dreaming." Thus spoke the great man!

Dalí's first known work, painted at the age of six, was Landscape near Figueras and after some group exhibitions, his first solo show was in 1925 in Barcelona.

"'I have quenched my desire for light and colour; I have spent the sultry summer days, painting like mad, trying to translate the incomparable beauty of the sea and sun-beaten shore..." Dalí, aged 13.

There followed many more exhibitions in New York, Paris and London over the years. Then there were all the meetings and collaborations with the likes of Walt Disney, Coco Chanel, the King and Queen of Spain, the Pope, Lorca, Hitchcock, Warhol, Picasso and Freud – and so many others.

During 1929 he had begun his affair with his life-long muse, lover and eventually, wife Gala Eluard. We read amazing stories about their lives together and apart. They fled to America in 1940 after German troops entered Bordeaux returning to Catalonia eight years later. In 1969 Dalí bought Gala a castle in Pubol, 38 miles from Port Lligat now known as the Gala-Dalí Castle Museum.

After Gala’s death in 1982, Dalí stayed on at the castle but his health was deteriorating. King Juan Carlos visited him in a clinic in Barcelona on December 5 and Dalí was cheered up and told the king that he would recover and start painting again but that was not to be.

Dalí died on January 23 1989. As requested, he was embalmed in the Dalí Theatre Museum and so his remains lie where he had his first collective exhibition and where now visitors can come to view his legacy.

A very worthwhile addition to the Dalí bookshelf.

Salvador Dalí at Home by Jackie de Burca.
ISBN 978-07112-3943-2
Hardback £25
White Lion Publishing

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An extensive new preface by the Ross Herald of Arms, Charles Bunnett, Chamberlain of Duff House