"The Spinning Man" from the series "Historia de Don Quichotte de la Mancha," 1981
Color Etching and Aquatint
Signed in Pencil
Numbered "HC 10/65"
Catalogue raisonne: Field 80-1 D
Paper Size: 30 x 22 inches
Framed Size: 42.5 x 34.5 inches
Salvador Dali was born May 11, 1904 in Figueres, Spain. From an early age Dali was encouraged to practice his art and would eventually go on to study at an academy in Madrid. In the 1920's Dali went to Paris and began interacting with Picasso, Magritte, and Miro leading to his first Surrealist phase. The rise of the fascist leader Franco in Spain led to Dali's expulsion from the Surrealist movement, but that did not prevent him from painting.
Born Salvador Dalí on May 11, 1904, in Figueres, Spain, located 16 miles from the French border in the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains. His father, Salvador Dalí y Cusi, was a middle class lawyer and notary. Salvador's father had a strict disciplinary approach to raising children—a style of child-rearing which contrasted sharply with that of his mother, Felipa Domenech Ferres. She often indulged young Salvador in his art and early eccentricities. It has been said that young Salvador was a precocious and intelligent child, prone to fits of anger against his parents and schoolmates. Consequently, Dalí was subjected to furious acts of cruelty by more dominant students or his father. The elder Salvador wouldn't tolerate his son's outbursts or eccentricities, and punished him severely. Their relationship deteriorated when Salvador was still young, exacerbated by competition between he and his father for Felipa's affection.
Dalí had an older brother, born nine months before him, also named Salvador, who died of gastroenteritis. Later in his life, Dalí often related the story that when he was five years old, his parents took him to the grave of his older brother and told him he was his brother's reincarnation. In the metaphysical prose he frequently used, Dalí recalled, "[we] resembled each other like two drops of water, but we had different reflections." He "was probably a first version of myself, but conceived too much in the absolute."
Salvador, along with his younger sister Ana Maria and his parents, often spent time at their summer home in the coastal village of Cadaques. At an early age, young Salvador was producing highly sophisticated drawings, and both his parents strongly supported his artistic talent. It was here that his parents built him an art studio before he entered art school.
Upon recognizing his immense talent, Dalí's parents sent him to drawing school at the Colegio de Hermanos Maristas and the Instituto in Figueres, Spain in 1916. He was not a serious student, preferring to daydream in class and stand out as the class eccentric, wearing odd clothing and long hair. After that first year at art school, he discovered modern painting in Cadaques while vacationing with his family. There he also met Ramon Pichot, a local artist who frequently visited Paris. The next year, his father organized an exhibition of Salvador's charcoal drawings in the family home. By 1919, Dalí had his first public exhibition at the Municipal Theater in Figueres.
In 1921, Salvador Dalí's mother, Felipa, died of breast cancer.
Dalí was 16, and her death devastated him. His father married his deceased wife's sister, which did not endear the younger Dalí any closer to his father, though he respected his aunt. The father and son would battle over many different issues throughout their lives, until the elder Dalí's death.