Spain has produced quite a few world-renown artists, and one of them is Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dalí I Doménech, or just Salvador Dalí, (pronounced Dah-LEE) who lived from 1904 to 1989. He was a colorful character, eccentric and proud of it, from Catalonia, on the east side of Spain, close to France. (Barcelona, a gorgeous city many visitors to Spain have seen, is the largest city in the province of Catalonia.) Dalí was a painter, sculptor and even a writer, and he is mostly known for his surrealist interpretations. The first time I ever saw his artwork was at the MOMA (or was it the Met?) in New York City, where I was fascinated with his painting of clocks melting and dripping over a barren landscape. This is still one of my favorite paintings, and it is called “The Persistence of Memory.”
When my son was about 4 years old, I had the great fortune of visiting the Teatro-Museo Dalí museum in small town called Figueres, which is where Dalí was born. The town is situated northeast of Barcelona, close to the Mediterranean coast, and it was there that I really got a chance to expand my appreciation for this genius of a man. The museum is filled with his works, and it’s definitely worth the drive up from Barcelona to go see it. As a matter of fact, it seems that tourists increasingly agree with me: according to ABC.es, a large Spanish newspaper, the Dalí museum in Figueres, along with other Dalí museums in Barcelona, had a record number of visitors in 2013, almost 10% more than in 2012.
Not surprisingly, Salvador Dalí’s artistic contributions continue to fetch very high prices. According to a different article in ABC.es, one of Dalí’s sculptures, the fourth in a series of eight, will be auctioned in London by the Bonhams. (The auction will be held February 4th, 2014, according to the Bonhams website. ) This metallic sculpture, which is over 3 meters high (more than 10 feet) of an elephant with impossibly long, thin legs, being ridden by a golden angel with a horse tail and playing a trumpet, is valued at between 250,000 and 350,000 Euros. ($340,000 to $476,000.) Apparently, Dalí had a thing for elephants with string bean legs—according to Wikipedia, he first began painting them in 1944 and after that, they continued appearing in his works for the next 40 years.
If you are interested in seeing more of Dalí’s work, and traveling to Spain isn’t in your plans, there is a Salvador Dalí museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. Many of his pieces are also on exhibit right now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art until March 2nd, 2014. You can also see his work on-line by visiting the Dalí Web of Tampa, Florida, a site which has scans in high resolution of 159 of his paintings. Or you can go to a Salvador Dalí website to see more.