Great Couples: Salvador Dalí & Gala

He’s Catalan, he’s one of a kind, he’s the prolific head of surrealism and he was hypnotic to men and women. Salvador Domènech was born in Figueres, Spain. He fell in love with art in his teen years and showed great talent from the very beginning. Dalí would befriend many famous people through out his younger years which would become a life-long pattern. In his early 20’s he went into artist residency program where he became with filmmaker Luis Buñuel, poets Federico García Lorca & Pepín Bello. Lorca was one of many homosexual friends of Salvador that would fall in love with him and he would have to reject sexual advances of the same sex. During this period Dalí would adopt the cubism movement in it’s early stages. In 1926 he would move to Paris and befriend Picasso who helped him make the move to surrealism along with Joan Mirò. 

In 1929, Dalí met his muse and eventually his wife, Gala (Elena Diakonova) who was 10 years younger than Salvador. Gala was a subject for good portion of his career and Dalí’s parents also a long while to accept Gala as his life partner. Gala would move on to become Salvador’s business manager. In 1934 Gala introduced her then husband to America art dealer Julian Levy who brought Dalí’s work to New York City. Sadly in that same year André Brenton, founder of Surrealism, attacked Dalí and denounced him and even put him social trial to expel him from the surrealism group. Thankfully Salvador stood tall and proud again Brenton, who became a joke of the art world of his arrogance with his presence in the surrealist world but all Dada groups.

From 1936 and on Dalí truly blew up in the world of popular culture. His artwork blossomed, he ventured in the set design. furniture design (Mae Wests Red Lips Couch) and even costume design (the original meat dress, Dalí’s Dream of Venus  which featured models wearing costumes made of seafood). With great success, comes great backlash from your peers. In this period also came the harsh criticism from his fellow artists. But Salvador conquered on but would fall victime to other great like Picasso, Léger, Ernst and his friend Mirò. They were all added to Hitler’s degenerate art list and many of their historic pieces were destroyed at the hands of the Nazi’s. Dalí stood strong publicly against the Nazi’s but did flee to New York during the early stage of the invasion of Paris in June of 1940. He and Gala would not return to France till 3 years after the end of the war. 

Dalí and Gala were guests to many famous friends around the world and were known to be the life of many parties, even in their later years. 

This couple is certainly one of the best couple costumes to choose from. Yes Dalí was an extremely strong figure but his wife was just well known in the art & literary works as well. She dated poet Paul Éluard while living in Switzerland and eventually would marry Paul and have a daughter. It was Éluard who would introduce Gala to the Surrealism world and some believe the reason why Brenton hated Dalí. It’s believe that Brenton hated Dalí, because of his relationship with Gala. He had met Gala many years before Dalí and never agreed with the free lifestyle that Gala was living in this early period and his hate for her was pretty prolific through both their lives. I think it had to do with the fact Gala has a 3-way relationship with her husband and Max Ernst. Brenton was a very jealous man who loved power. 

In this post, I’ve actually posted the one painting that spoked to me the most in his large catalogue of pieces. Cabaret Scene is that one piece that spoke to me most through out my education. Interesting tid-bit, the piece is in a private collection of Francois Petit, who played Sub Zero in the Mortal Combat films in the 90’s.

 Gala & Salvador in 1930's

Gala & Salvador in 1930's

  Cabaret Scene - 1922 by Dali

Cabaret Scene - 1922 by Dali