PrintE-mail Written by Jennie Bailey

“Getting the public’s attention is like eating peanuts: once you start, you can’t stop” (Reputed to have been said by Andy Warhol to Salvador Dalí)

Before the Young British Artists in the 1990s, before the ubiquity of Warhol’s pop art in the 1960s, there was Salvador Dalí (1904 – 1989), artist, sculptor, and skilled self-promoter. It is easy to picture the artist: a living trademark with sculpted, waxed moustache, sharply dressed with cape and cane, with a face that looked permanently astonished. Over his lifetime, Dalí produced over 1,500 works of art and danced along the flimsy line of genius/artistic sell-out. From his youth it was clear that Dalí was exceptionally talented, constantly curious, with a finger consistently on the pulse (and often uncannily ahead) of the zeitgeist. After achieving fame with ‘The Persistence of Memory’ - the one with the melty clocks, disturbing, dream-like imagery and themes of time, death, and decay - Dalí’s work was in demand. Of course with fame comes an ego the size of a planet; he was reported as declaring himself “Divino Dalí” during an interview. 

Dalí’s artistic influences spanned from his personal life, anarchism, Vermeer, Dadaism, the anti-art movement of Max Ernst and Man Ray, the Surrealists (which he was kicked out of for controversial comments on Hitler), and nuclear war. Although he frustrated his critics and lost friends, he was close friends with poet Fredrico García Lorca, Walt Disney, and Andy Warhol. His wife Gala was a muse for his art and his constant companion until her death in 1982, from which Dalí never really recovered. Demonstrating keen self-awareness, cultivating his eccentric, mysterious personality, Dalí made himself a mythic hero. He was a cultural icon and remains an important touchstone for artists today. 

The magic of the surrealist artist is lovingly captured by award winning French artist and writer Edmond Baudoin and translated by Edward Gauvin. Baudoin’s approach to Dalí is in itself Dalíesque: self-referential asides and surreal art and ink accompany Dalí’s biography. The original French translation was produced by the Centre Pompidou in 2012 and has been translated for indie graphic novel publishers SelfMadeHero’s Art Masters series. This English translation is a fantastic addition to the Arts Masters series and will sit happily with current publications on Munch, Pablo Picasso, Van Gogh, and Rembrandt. It will be great to see what SelfMadeHero publish next, they are definitely a publisher to keep your beady eye on.


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