The Editors of the Art Gallery web site, state, "He surmised that the nature of reality would be fully explained by science soon enough, and that the very basis of life would prove to be a spiral. Indeed, when Crick and Watson discovered the double helix strand nature of the DNA molecule in 1953, Dali was somewhat vindicated in his theories" (Editors). Dali's classically trained mind often moved faster than those around him and his ideas were often unacceptable to more traditional thinkers.
After the War ended in 1945, Dali was free to travel back to Europe, but he did not leave the U.S. until 1948. He continued to live in Europe and the United States on and off, and finally died in his hometown, where he is buried. One of the biggest influences on his life was his mistress, and later his wife, Gala Eluard. He met her in 1929 when she was another man's wife, but they were together almost always from that time on. He formally married her in 1958. She consistently served as a model for many of his most famous paintings, and literally guided him in his interactions with the art world and his growing legion of fans. The Editors continue, "She constantly advised him on how to act and interact with the art community, especially while they were in America for most of the 1940's" (Editors). Thus, much of Dali's success and notoriety can be traced back to Gala and her extreme influence on the artist and his works.
Clearly, Dali's art strayed from what most people considered "normal," but it was always colorful and fascinating to the viewer, no matter the subject matter and implication. Surrealism and its forms continued to interest him, but by the time he came to the United States, he was also experimenting in many other art forms that led him to a more "classical" period, where he concentrated on more realistic and even religious works. Critic Basquin continues,
In the late 1940s and the 1950s, he painted a series of religious works, including "Madonna of Port Lligat." Dali was influenced by Renaissance artists such as Raphael and modeled his figures in light and shadow, making them look round and realistic. His composition for "Madonna of Port Lligat" is based on a Renaissance painting by Piero Della Francesca (Basquin 34).
This classical period continued until Dali's death in 1989, but his work was not confined to painting. He branched out into sculpture, and continued to influence the filmmaking community in many areas. For example, he worked with Walt Disney and Groucho Marx to develop ideas that were never produced, and he worked with Alfred Hitchcock on several pictures, including the "dream sequence" in "Spellbound." He also illustrated books, and continued to design costumes and sets for several ballets and other theatrical productions. He even produced dress designs, and introduced a perfume called "Dali" during his life. Ever the showman, he grew a long moustache that he waxed, which became his trademark.
Dali was influential to the art world for many reasons. He showed that an artist could successfully work in more than one medium, and that an artist could have a large social and political conscience in his works. He created an entirely new form of modernistic painting, and he also developed scientific ideas that came through in his works. During his life, he lectured widely on his artistic ideas and accomplishments, and created not only new art forms, but new ideas about thinking, science, and creative careers. In 1983, he established the Gala-Salvador Dal' Foundation, (Gala died in 1982), which promotes his artistic work and the artistic work of up and coming modern artists. The Foundations supports three museums in Spain in Portlligat, Pubol, and Figueres, and has a study center and conservation center. Thus, his art is preserved for the world, and students can study the work of one of the world's most influential and amazing artists. Dali willed almost all of his collection to the Spanish government when he died, partly because he had no children, and this collection makes up the balance of the collection in the study center at the Foundation. The Foundation also funds research and artistic pursuit, and encourages more research into the life and times of Dali.
In conclusion, Salvador Dali was an influential and controversial figure throughout his lifetime. He used his fame and popularity to espouse his own views on everything from politics to society. Dali spent his life speaking out about a variety of issues, but his most lasting legacy is his art, which is exhibited around the world, and still influences other artists today through his Foundation and the study of his work. His changes in style and philosophy show that artists can transition through many changes and periods in their careers, and the best artists continue to grow and change throughout their…