Six surreal facts from the life of Salvador Dalí

Six surreal facts from the life of Salvador Dalí
Salvador Dalí was born on May 11th, 1904. Photo: AFP
Salvador Dalí was born on May 11th in 1904. The Local takes a look at some of the lesser-known facts about the iconic Spanish artist.

He was expelled from art school

Photo: AFP

One of Spain’s most iconic artists never finished his art degree… because he refused to be examined by his incompetent professors. “None of the professors of the school being competent to judge me, I retire,” he said, and was promptly kicked out. There was also an ulterior motive to not finishing; once Dalí had his degree, he would lose all financial support from his father. Perishing the thought, he left university early and lived off his father’s money in Paris.

He may have a daughter he never knew existed

Photo: AFP

It seems fitting that the surrealist master should be the subject of a suitably surreal paternity case, filed 26 years after the painter’s death. Astrologist and Tarot Reader  María Pilar claims Dalí had an affair with her mother, who he met in the fishing village of Port Lliget, where he had a home. Maria Pilar is calling for Dalí's body to be exhumed so she can prove once and for all that she is his daughter. 

READ MORE: Are you my surreal dad? Dalí to be exhumed on paternity case

His parents believed he was reincarnated

Portrait of My Dead Brother (1963).

When Dalí was five-years-old, he was taken to the grave of his brother and told by his parents that he was the incarnation of his older sibling. His older brother, also named Salvador, had died almost nine months to the day before Dalí was born. Dalí came to believe he was his older brother’s reincarnation and featured him in several of his paintings, including Portrait of My Dead Brother (above). 

He released a cookbook

Dali's cookbook. Photo: ebay

It is a little known fact that Dalí adored cooking, so much so he even released his very own cookbook, Les Diners de Gala, in 1973. But true to his surrealist routes, it was far from ordinary. Billed as “an erotic cookbook” it includes a chapter on aphrodisiacs and recipe’s including “Cassanova cocktail”. It was a homage to indulgence as Dalí wrote in the introduction: “If you are a disciple of one of those calorie-counters who turn the joys of eating into a form of punishment, close this book at once.”

He collaborated with Disney

You might not immediately associate the dark surrealism of Dalí with the saccharine Walt Disney but the two planned to collaborate after Disney approached Dalí to work on a follow up to Fantasia in 1945. The project, Destino, was never brought to the screen, but was released as a short film in 2003.

He made his secretaries millionaires


At the time, Dalí’s secretaries were probably hugely annoyed that the artist paid them in paintings instead of money… but they certainly had the last laugh when decades later they would cash in the works that were by then worth millions of dollars. 

This article was first published in May 2016