Salvador Dalí was a multi talented artist. Though known for his surrealist paintings, melting clocks, and eccentric behavior, Dalí was an incredibly skilled and trained craftsman in a multitude of disciplines. His art ranged from the two-dimensional to the three dimensional, from surrealism to realism, from the chaotic to the harmonized. To understand Dalí as an artist one needs to look at his entire canon of work. His skills in sculpture telegraph a different side than his work as a filmmaker. Every way Dalí produced art was a way to tell a different story and different side of himself. Dalí believed that life itself was a work of art, a work of art that needs to be mastered and conquered every day. Thus for Salvador Dalí it made perfect sense for him to turn everything he did into an art form. From the mundane to the extraordinary Dalí saw art blossoming in all things. In fact he developed a skill he called the paranoiac-critical method in order to train his brain to irrationally link objects ideas. He described it as “spontaneous method of irrational knowledge based on the critical and systematic objectivity of the associations and interpretations of delirious phenomena.” With the paranoiac-critical method at his disposal the world was open to Dalí in an endless amount of possibilities. Dalí would forge his inspiration and imagination onto many forms of art and create some of the 20th century’s most memorable artistic icon.
Salvador Dalí’s most famous works are undoubtedly his paintings. Dalí spent many years from a young age being formally trained in traditional painting. He studied the works of the “masters” including, Rembrandt, Velasquez, Vermeer, Raphael, and Da Vinci. It is evident in his earliest of works that Dalí was profoundly influence by realism; he sought to capture the world as it was and to perfect the forms of the world. Soon though his art would take a turn a he would be influenced by the new art movements emerging, Dadaism and Cubism. It wasn’t till his twenties that Dalí fell under the spell of Surrealism and his life changed forever.
Through all these phases Dalí maintained an impeccable technique. Nowhere is this more evident than in his masterpiece The Persistence of Memory. Here Dalí shocked the world with his unforgettable images of his melting clock.
Throughout Dalí’s paintings you can see a variety of influences. For example a religious influence as seen in his paintings Christ of Saint John of the Cross and Crucifixion (Corppus Hypercubus). You see the influence of Spain in Autumn Cannibalism and Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premontion of Civil War). In his paintings Leda Atomica and Galatea of the Spheres we see the influence that science and physics had on Dalí.
Dalí produced approximately 1,700 prints. This limited edition hand signed graphic works ranged in subjects from music like Symphony Bicyclette to plants like the suite FlorDalí. Dalí was a master print maker. He earned the techniques of etching and engraving and regularly worked on this part of his craft to produce brilliant prints. Among his famous prints is his homage to the master, Changes in Great Masterpieces, where Dalí reworks paintings by masters like Vermeer.
Dalí also created an extensive collection of sculptures. Some of the larger ones he has produced have stood around the world in places like London (at the foot of the London eye), Singapore, and all throughout France. Perhaps his most famous sculpture is Lobster Telephone. Dalí worked in this medium during much of his life. It was a way from him to bring his ideas on to the third dimension and give his paintings more life.
Today Dalí’s drawings are highly sought after in the art market. Many of his drawings fetch for thousands of dollars. Usually these drawings were his studies, his initial plans for his works to be. What is remarkable is that these drawings on their own stand as their own legitimate work of art. When you see a Dalí drawing up close you see the extraordinary precision in his artistry.
All these manners of expression for Dalí were simply his need to fulfill his life. His paintings hang on the walls of the most prestigious museums in the world; they are often cited for their remarkable vision and talent. His drawings are owned by some of the world’s most prominent art collectors. His sculptures are displayed throughout the world. Dalí’s graphic works are now being bought up by established and new art collectors. These prints were made for the masses and now number in few that are available. They are a way for those who want a piece of Dalí’s legacy.
Dalí was a print maker, painter, filmmaker, photographer, designer, jeweler, sculptor, an artist in every sense of the word….but most importantly, he remains one of the 20th century’s lasting artistic master.