When he was only fourteen, Slavador Felipe Jacinto Dalí y Domenech attended painting classes at a municipal art school in his home town of Figueras. From 1921 Dalí studied at the Madrid academy of art, where he met representatives of the artistic Avant-garde such as Luis Buñuel and Federico García Lorca. He was increasingly influenced by the 'pittura metafisica' of Giorgio de Chirico and Carlo Carrà. Salvador Dalí was expelled from the academy. From 1926 he studied Italian futurism. In 1928 he went to Paris, where he encountered the Surrealist movement around André Breton.
Salvador Dalí, who was familiar with Sigmund Freud's work, increasingly connected the dream-like with the artistic medium of automatism. He connected paranoid delusions with subconscious elements and unreal phantasies with the meticulous painting techniques of the Old Masters. In the Paris gallery "Geomans", his first exhibition in 1929 was a great success. During this time he produced two Surrealist films together with Buñuel. With his participation at the exhibition "Surrealist Paintings, Drawings and Photographs" at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York, he took his first step into the American public's awareness.
In 1934 he broke with the Surrealist group surrounding Breton. He spent the subsequent years in New York, where his first large retrospective took place in 1941. Three years later, Salvador Dalí designed costumes and stages for three ballets. He wrote numerous theoretical texts. Together with Walt Disney, Dalí designed the stage for the famous dream scene in Alfred Hitchcock's movie "Spellbound, The House of Dr. Edwards" in Hollywood. He also produced numerous illustrations for various books published by the US publishing house Doubleday. In 1948 Salvador Dalí returned to Spain. His late work which he then produced, increasingly featured religious and mystical mismatches.
At that time Dalí again intensively studied physical theories. In the following years he presented his current works in several major exhibitions in cities like Rome, Venice and New York. Towards the end of the 1950s the artist raised "provocation to a prophetical system" .
He celebrated this principle in numerous happenings which caused a great uproar during the 1960s.Salvador Dalí received numerous awards and honors: In 1964 he received the Order of Queen Isabella, in 1978 he was admitted to the "Académie des Beaux-Arts de L'Institut de France". In 1982 he was awarded the title of "Marquis de Púbol" and in 1971 the Cleveland Salvador Dalí Museum opened.
Later Dalí was honored with a series of retrospectives: in 1979 at the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the London Tate Gallery and in 1983 in Madrid and Barcelona. His last great work was the construction of a theater-museum in his home town of Figueras, which the artist dedicated his time to during the 1970s.