ARTISTS SERIES: Wacky, Weird, Wild, or Just Plain Savvy? # 1! – SALVATOR DALI

Dali and Rhino

Episode #1

[Dr. DJ begins this 10-part series with one of the top contenders that no one would deny.]



“The fact that I myself, at the moment of painting, do not understand my own pictures, does not mean that these pictures have no meaning; on the contrary, their meaning is so profound, complex, coherent, and involuntary that it escapes the most simple analysis of logical intuition.” 




I fully expected him to end this quote by saying, “…it escapes even my own analytical abilities.” That would be a typical response from the most famous surrealist of the 20th Century. A very versatile artist – painter, sculptor, filmmaker, and – of course – the ultimate performance artist, usually portraying a wild, wacky and weird Salvator Dali.

Referring always to himself in the 3rd person, he would say things like:

“Each morning when Dali awakes, he experiences again a supreme pleasure – that of being Salvador Dali.”

“There is only one difference between a madman and Dali. The madman thinks he is sane. Dali knows he is quite mad.”

“There are some days when Dali thinks, ‘I’m going to die from an overdose of satisfaction.’”

There is no doubt in my mind that Salvator belongs in the top 10 of WWW Artists. I will announce my decision who was deserving of the title THE Wackiest, Weirdest, Wildest Artist at the end of this series.

Trust me, it will be a tough decision.

Salvador Dali stories are endless.

He was fascinated with the rhinoceros. He owned two, a black one and a white one. Below is a picture of Dali in a 1954 painting while in the cage with a rhino at the Vincennes Zoo in Paris. He is sitting on a wheelbarrow. Not bizarre enough?

Later he had a crust of bread balanced on his head while painting. Still not crazy enough? He then had a copy of Vermeer’s The Lacemaker hung in the cage hoping the rhino would charge it and pierce it with its horn.

More? When the rhino (named Francois) refused to degrade the Vermeer, Dali charged the painting with a lance himself and punched his own hole through it. Why? “Only Dali knows why,” Dali says.

DAli And Rhino

In 1958, Dali, returned to Paris and gave a lecture at the Sorbonne on Vermeer’s Lacemaker and the rhino. He arrived in a white Rolls-Royce filled with Dali and 1,000 cauliflowers.

In early January of 1989, Dali was made his last public appearance. He was taken in a wheelchair to a room in the Teatro-Museo where press and TV were waiting (and waiting, and waiting) and then, typical of Dali, made a brief – and ironic – statement, ending with:

“When you are a genius, you do not have the right to die, because we are necessary for the progress of humanity.

Despite his declaration, a few days later, on the 23rd January 1989, while his favorite record of Tristan and Isolde played, Dalí died of heart failure at the age of 84.

Dali was buried in the crypt below the stage of his Theatre and Museum in Figueres. The location is across the street from the church of Sant Pere, where he had his baptism, his first communion, and his (only) funeral, and just three blocks from the house where he was born, May 11, 1904.


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