Did You Know- Salvador Dali

Celebrating his 111th birthday a day late with some fun facts about this twisted artist!

Salvador Dali and his pet ocelot, Babou

We all know Salvador Dali as one of the more eccentric and flamboyant artists that graced the 20th century. Although we mostly know Dali for his trademark curly mustache and “melting clocks”, how much do we really know about him or his art? Well here at the Splatter, we thought we’d celebrate his 111th birthday (born May 11th, 1904) and share some fun facts about Dali. So, here are some little known facts about this incredibly fascinating artist:

      • Dali’s whole name is Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dali i Domenech.
      • Dali was born May 11, 1904 in Figueres, Spain.
      • Dali believed he was the reincarnation of his older brother also named Salvador Dali, who died during childbirth nine months before Salvador Dali was born. At age 5, Salvador was taken to his brother’s grave where his parents told him they believed he was the reincarnation of him. He believed that from that day on and it heavily affected his work with images of his dead brother appearing embedded in his later works, especially Portrait of My Dead Brother painted in 1963.
      • On top of painting, Dali was also a skilled at film, photography, sculpture and drafting.
      • Dali hated to pay restaurant bills– he had a habit of inviting large parties of people out to restaurants and then when it came time for the bill, he would write out the bills amount on a check. When the waiter was looking, Dali would sketch or doodle on the back of the check knowing that no sane person would cash a check with an original drawing by him on it.
      • His most famous painting The Persistence of Memory was inspired by Dali seeing some Camembert cheese melting in the heat on a hot summer day. That night, he dreamed of clocks melting just like the cheese and the image became one of his most famous paintings.

The Persistence of Memory

  • Dali was married to a woman named Elena Ivanovna Diakonova or as he knew her, Gala. In 1968, Dali bought her a castle in Spain. Dali himself was only allowed to visit the castle after obtaining her permission in writing.
  • Dali has produced over 1,500 paintings during his career on top of producing sketches and illustrations for books, lithographs,, theatre sets, costumes and even collaborated with Walt Disney on a short animated film.
  • Dali’s paintings are often provocative and incredibly imaginative, which were not the result of drug use. Dali actually would stand on his head long enough to become semi-lucid (such as Swans Reflecting Elephants [right]).
  • Dali once gave a plaster replica of his brain to musician Alice Cooper. The plaster brain was topped off with a real chocolate eclair and covered in ants. He would later create a hologram of Cooper with lasers.
  • Dali was a showman and once gave a lecture in a full deep-sea diving suit. He almost suffocated in it when he refused to take it off during the lecture.
  • Dali had a pet Ocelot named Babou.
  • He once claimed that his well known moustache was an antanae that could receive alien signals.
  • Jerry’s Artarama carries the Dali Eco-Friendly Bamboo French Easel inspired by the french easels Dali used.
  • Dali died January 23rd, 1989 of heart failure and is buried at the Dali Museum and Theatre in Figueres, Spain.

There are some of the more interesting facts about the life and times of Salvador Dali. To find out more about Salvador Dali, check out the DVD-Artists of the 20th Century: Salvador Dali 

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