Salvador Dalí (1904 - 1989), The Conquest of the Irrational
Selections from his graphic work (1935 - 1979)

Term: 23th November 2002 - 14th September 2003

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6.12.2002 - Salvador Dalí, The Conquest of the Irrational, Exhibition opening ceremony

This extensive exhibition of around 500 works is the biggest, most significant and most complete overview of Salvador Dali's graphic oeuvre and includes absolute rarities like:

  • Dali's three-dimensional graphics
  • display case exhibits
  • complete portfolios of works
  • original books written and illustrated by Dalí
  • lithographic cycles and woodcuts
  • photographic collages

List of exhibited cycles

Goya´s Caprichos by Dalí
Faust (The Walpurgis Night)
Yellow Loves
The Divine Comedy
Casanova´s Memories
Alice´s Adventures in Wonderland
The Decameron
The Quest for the Holy Grail
The Strange Dreams of Pantagruel
Don Quixote
Quevedos’ Vision
Ten Receipes for Immortality

Photographic Collages

A tri-lingual catalogue has been published to accompany the exhibition.

Short biography of Dalí's life

Salvador Dalí y Domenech is born on 11th May 1904 in Figueras/Catalonia/Spain as the second son of the notary public Salvador Dalí Cusí and his wife Felipa Domenech Ferrés. The elder son of the notary‘s family was also called Salvador and died in 1903 at the age of 21 months of typhus or pneumonia. Dalí‘s mother believed Salvador was the reincarnation of his dead brother and gave him the same first names which led to an emotional trauma in early childhood and an identity crisis that lasted his whole life.

Attends Primary School, first contact with world painting, in particular with "The Angelus" by Jean-Francois Millet which was displayed in the school as a high-quality art print.

Grammar School. Drawing classes with Juan Nunez. Friendship with the Pitchot family. Admiration for the Impressionists.

Mother dies on 6.2.1921.

School Leaving Examination and acceptance by the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando in Madrid. Beginning of his friendship with Luis Bunuel and Federico Garcia Lorca.

Dalí is suspended from the Academy for a year on disciplinary grounds.

Forty days imprisonment in Figueras and Gerona.

First solo exhibition (Dalmau Gallery/Barcelona).

Travels to Paris and Brussels. Dalí meets Picasso. Final expulsion from the Academy of Art in Madrid.

Writes and shoots the film "Un Chien Andalou" with Bunuel (premiere in Paris on the 6th of June). In the summer Gala and Paul Eluard, the Magritte‘s, Goeman‘s as well as Luis Bunuel visit the young Dalí in Cadaques. Dalí falls in love with Gala Eluard, his future wife, long-term partner in life and Muse. Dalí quarrels with his father. First exhibition in Paris.

Purchase of a small fisherman‘s hut in Port Lligat near Cadaques from the schizophrenic fisherwoman Lydia. She made a deep impression on Dalí through her highly unusual behaviour. Later in Paris: Scandalous showing of the film "L‘Âge d‘Or" ("The Golden Age") that he made with Bunuel.

First trip to the USA. Successful exhibition in the Julien Levy Gallery New York.

Publication of his programmatic booklet: "La Conquete de L‘Irrationel", edited by André Breton in Paris and New York.

Dalí gives a lecture in London while dressed in a diving suit. He nearly suffocates while doing so. Second trip to the USA. Dalí‘s portrait appears on the cover of "Time".

Stay in Italy; his friend Federico Garcia Lorca is shot in the Spanish Civil War.

19th of July: Dalí meets Sigmund Freud in London.

Travels to New York. Scandal, when Dalí smashes a shop window pane and is not allowed to furnish Boticellis "Venus" with a fish head in his work: "Dream of Venus" (for the world exhibition in New York). After that publication of his manifesto: "Declaration of the independence of the imagination and the human right to insanity". Return to Europe.

1940 - 1948
Exile in the USA (Virginia, California, New York). Expansion of his field of activity to include ballett, opera, film, fashion, jewellery, illustration, advertising etc.

Exhibition in the Museum of Modern Art New York as well as in a further eight cities in the USA.

Autobiograpy: "The Secret Life Of Salvador Dalí".

Stage scenery designs for Hitchcock‘s Film "Spellbound”.

Audience with Pope Pius XII in Rome.

Dalí arranges an encounter in Vincennes zoo between a large-scale reproduction of Vermeer‘s "Lacemaker" and a rhinoceros.

Dalí creates his first lithographs in the "Pages Choisies de Don Quichotte de la Manche" cycle using avant-garde innovative techniques, including Bulletism which was developed by Dalí.

Church wedding with Gala in the Pyrenean hamlet of Montrejic after Paul Eluard‘s death.

Publication of the 100 woodcuts to Dantes "Divine Comedy" by Joseph Foret, Éditions d´Art: Les Heures Claires".

Dalí buys «Púbol» Castle near Gerona/Catalonia/Spain.

Opening of the "Teatre Museu Dalí" in Figueras.

Admitted into the "Académie des Beaux Arts" in Paris.

Dalí developes more and more symptoms of Parkinson‘s disease, possibly the result of the side-effects of his long-term use of anti-depressives and neuroleptics.

Gala, the Muse and wife that he loved above all, dies on 10th of June 1982 in Port Lligat. Dalí and his chauffeur secretly transport the body to Púbol, because they wish to have the funeral in Púbol Castle and therefore want to pretend that Gala died in the castle that Dalí had bought in 1969, in which a double tomb had already been built in the cellar vault as the last resting place of the Dalís. King Juan Carlos of Spain ennobles Dalí and grants him the title of "Marques de Púbol".

23rd of January 1989: Salvador Dali dies in Figueras in his Teatre Museu Dalí, in which he had spent the last years of his life in a side wing, cared for by a nurse and his friend of many years , the photographer Robert Descharnes. He left his estate to the Kingdom of Spain and the Autonomous Region of Catalonia. In accordance with the wishes of his later years he is laid to rest in a tomb in his museum and not in Púbol Castle.