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Salvador Dali (Spanish, 1904-1989)


Also known as:  Dalí i Domènech, Salvador; Dalí y Domènech, Salvador; Dalí y Domènech, Salvador Felipe Jacinto; Dalí, Salvador Felipe Jacinto; Domènech, Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dalí; Salvador Dalí


Who is painter Salvador Dali?

Salvador Dali was a surrealist painter and a true icon of the 21st century. He was world-renowned thanks to pioneering art and techniques in painting, film, sculpture, photography, and other forms of visual art. In addition to these pursuits, Dali was also an extremely prolific writer, routinely penning fiction, poetry, essays, and criticism for major magazines and journals. He was often divisive, with many vocal critics that often focused on his high-profile personal escapades.

It’s a tribute to Dali, then, that his art speaks even louder than those exploits. His body of work is astounding, enough to fill two entire museums (The Dali Theatre and Museum in Figures, Spain and the Salvador Dali Museum in Florida), countless galleries, and inside the hearts and minds of a legion of fans and admirers. He is considered a vanguard of the Cubist, Surrealist, and Dadaist movements and as such was honored many times by several countries. He received a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic from Spain, was a member of the Royal Academy of Science, Letter and Fine Arts in Belgium and France, and innumerable other awards and titles.

What kind of art did Salvador Dali make?

Salvador Dali was a true polymath, with expertise in painting, sculptures, photography, and other artistic disciplines. Of course, he is best known for his paintings, which he created over the entirety of his life. It is hard to sum up all these works, but suffice to say he either founded or made fundamental contributions to Cubism, Surrealism, and the Dadaist art movements. Above all, Dali wasn’t afraid to use humor or discomfort to agitate his audience. He was able to move abstract art out of its ivory towers and gave it to the masses. He frequently used food, animals, and timepieces in his work as symbolist iconography. It’s easy to see how fashion, photography, and film were natural extensions of his artistic aesthetic and impulses.

How did artist Salvador Dali get started?

Salvador Dali was born in Spain to extremely liberal and middle-class parents. From an early age, his mother encouraged his artistic inclinations. It was during this time that Dali first came into contact with the idea of luxury and fashion as an escape from the drudgery of the “real” world. Dali attended the Municipal Drawing School in his hometown in 1916, with his first public exhibition coming soon after -- at the Municipal Theatre in 1918. From there, he began studying Cubism on his own, reading several books and magazines about the burgeoning art form by way of an Uncle who owned a bookstore in Barcelona. He moved to Madrid in the 1920s and quickly became renowned both for his art and his quirky personality.

How much are Salvador Dali paintings worth?

Salvador Dali paintings are extremely valuable, with paintings often fetching millions of dollars at Auction. Even his smaller pieces, prints, and films can sell for tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is due to the quality of his catalog and because of his stature as one of the great artists of the 20th century. The most ever paid for a Salvador Dali piece was $21,671,110 for the painting Portrait de Paul Eluard (1929) on February 10th, 2011. This is by no means an outlier, Dali has had several paintings sell for multiple millions of dollars.

Where to buy Salvador Dali paintings for sale?

See works for sale below. Why buy from Heritage? Art buyers feel confident because our experts know the market and put careful valuations on artwork for sale. We make the bidding process easier to help you expand your art collection.

How to value Salvador Dali Paintings?

The best way to value art is to compare past auction prices for similar works. View past sale prices below. When you’re ready to sell, contact Heritage Auctions to request an auction estimate of the likely selling price at auction. If you need a formal written appraisal for estate planning or insurance, please contact our Appraisal Services department.


Salvador Dalí (May 11, 1904 – January 23, 1989) was a charismatic and celebrated Surrealistic Spanish Catalan artist. Working across a variety of media, Dali’s work is characterized by a Surrealistic approach, with nods to Dada and the influence of classical painting. Dali was a consummate showman and gifted self-promoter. He seems to have come by his dramatic style honestly. His parents told him he was the reincarnation of his older brother, also named Salvador, who had died nine months before the artist’s birth.

In 1922, Dalí studied at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes. During this time he formed friendships with some of the leading artists of the day, such as Federico Garcia Lorca, Pepin Bello, and Luis Bunuel.

Dali then took Paris by storm, meeting Picasso, who had heard of the young artist through a mutual friend, Joan Miro. It was around this time that Dali created one of his finest sartorial masterpieces: his trademark thin upturned mustache. In 1929, Dali met his model/mistress/muse/wife/business manager, Gala, a Russian immigrant ten years his senior. This relationship sustained both for fifty years.

Dalí is famous for the sensuous, dream-like, and bizarre imagery of his artwork. He is best known for collaborating with Bunuel on the screenplay for the surrealist film Un Chien Andolou, 1920, the painting “The Persistence of Memory,” 1931 (whose inspiration was said to be a melting slab of camembert cheese), and the sculpture “Lobster Telephone,” 1936.

During WWII, Dali and New York influenced and inspired one another (1940-1948). Afterwards, Dali and Gala returned to Spain.

Dali passed away on January 23, 1989, leaving a legacy of playfully provocative artwork.

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