Artists rarely create art movements but they can come to define them. Groundwork is laid by ephemeral artists and zeitgeist, only to be used by one person who then becomes the face of said movement.
Kurt Cobain did not create grunge rock nor was Titian the first portraitist. But they have become the face of these genres in their respective fields. Salvador Dalí is also among this list. He is the face of Surrealism.
“The only difference between me and the other surrealists is that I am a surrealist.” – Salvador Dalí
Dalí’s life was surreal and it showed in his work. His personal life was so fantastic that few Hollywood producers would buy it today. The other pillar of Surrealism, André Breton, anagrammatically coined the term ‘Avida Dollars’, which derided Dalí for being too commercial. The end result is Dalí’s work is instantly recognizable and Breton is merely a footnote to the casual art enjoyer.
Most people recognize a famous artist for their masterworks. They are, after all, masterworks. But, in order to complete the study of an artist one should see as many of the experimental or side projects as possible. The lesser known works often offer more insight into the creative mind of the subject. Cobain’s Nirvana rocked, but Nirvana’s ballads tell the fuller story.
A wonderful opportunity to see some of Dalí’s lesser known works on mediums rarely exhibited, is taking place now in Munich at the Münchner Künstlerhaus am Lenbachplatz through the 15th of September. It consists of works from 1930-1980, and was after he had found a certain amount of commercial success. This freed him to do things that show more of the real man, and less of the Avida Dollars.
For more info click here (in English).