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Business News/ Lounge / Some Dalí snapshots on his birthday

Today would’ve been Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dalí’s 112th birthday. Are you thinking of The Persistence of Memory yet? This 1931 painting of a pocket watch melting away is one of Dalí’s most recognizable works till date. In 2011, his Portrait de Paul Éluard made news when it sold at a Sotheby’s London auction for $22.4 million. According to Bloomberg, this is the most expensive surrealist painting sold at an auction. Éluard was a French surrealist poet.

Muse, Marriage, Manager

Dalí would fall in love with the poet’s wife Elena Diakonova (aka Gala). She married Dalí in 1934, after divorcing Éluard. Gala remained Dali’s muse, and also his business manager. He’d often sign both their names on some of his paintings.

In an interview with TV host Mike Wallace —one of the original correspondents on American channel CBS’ 60 Minutes, Dalí recalls that he’d been married “perhaps 20 [years] or more, but [am] still in love with Gala - more than in the beginning. That is something that nobody believes."

1934 was also the year that Dalí was introduced to America in New York, by an art dealer named Julien Levy. In a ball that was held in his honour then, he pulled a Lady Gaga, and made an appearance wearing a glass case containing a bra, across this chest. This had caused quite a stir.

However, less than a decade later—in 1941—The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York would give his own retrospective exhibition.

Dalí about painting

“Painting is my least important aspect. The thing that really counts is the almost imperialist structure of my genius. Painting is only an infinitesimal part of that genius. I express myself, as you know, with jewellery, flower beds, eroticism, mysticism."

(From Conversations with Dalí by Alain Bosquet)

Short film collaboration with Walt Disney

In 2003, The Walt Disney Company released Destino, a short film that Dalí and Disney had worked on in 1945. This is a six-minute short about Chronos, the Greek god of time and his love for Dahlia, a mortal. There is no dialogue, but with a background soundtrack originally composed by Mexican composer Armando Dominguez, Dahlia dances along in Dalí’s scapes trying to kiss her lover, as his face melts away and flies off into tiny pale blue butterflies. Chronos has on his wrist a melted watch, and out from his palm crawl ants becoming Frenchmen riding bicycles.

Watch the short here

Closer home:

Go to the local kirana store, and you’ll find a Dalí creation. Not kidding. You’ve probably had a Chupa Chups lollipop at some point. But what’s cool is that it was Dalí who’d designed the logo for this (originally Spanish) confectionery brand in 1969.

Photo: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
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Photo: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

What he thought of Le Corbusier, the Swiss-French architect credited with designing Chandigarh:

“Le Corbusier was a pitiable creature working in reinforced concrete. Mankind will soon be landing on the moon, and just imagine: that buffoon claimed we’d be taking along sacks of reinforced concrete. His heaviness and the heaviness of the concrete deserve one another. Thanks to IBM machines, social classes are going to disappear, and the whole universe will be cuckolded. We are advancing far more heroically to a struggle of the races."

(From Conversations with Dalí by Alain Bosquet)

Robert Pattinson—The Twilight-famous star played Dalí in a 2008 Spanish British drama called Little Ashes. The film was about the bond between Salvador Dalí and renowned poet and revolutionary Federico García Lorca.

Adrian Brody—This Academy Award Winner (Best Actor in a Leading Role for The Pianist), played Dalí in the popular Woody Allen film Midnight in Paris. Watch this scene.

Vangmayi Parakala
Vangmayi Parakala is a multimedia journalist who focuses on literary culture, while keeping an eye on how the internet and mobile phones influence literature, photography, and communities. She also edits the Books and Relationships sections at Mint Lounge. Currently based in New Delhi, she is an alumna of the Department of English at the University of Delhi from where she earned her M.A, and of the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, from where she earned her M.S. degree.
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Updated: 11 May 2016, 08:12 PM IST
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