1904 – Born in Figueres, Spain, on May 11; his first painting, a landscape, bears the date 1910.

1914 – Began high school studies at the Marist Brothers’ school in Figueres, where he began to take an interest in painting and was particularly influenced by Ramon Pixtox (1872-1925). For the most part, Dalí’s early works consist of landscapes and genre scenes depicting peasants and fishermen.

1921 – Dalí enrolled at the San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid; here he met Lorca, Buñel and Montes and was influenced by the Italian Futurists, Bonnard and Eugène Carrière.

1922 – Exhibits at the Galeries Dalmau in Barcelona. In Paris André Breton, together with Picasso, Max Ernst and Man Ray, founded the first Surrealist group.

1923 – Arrested for anarchist tendencies and held in jail for 35 days; developed interest in Cubism and the Italian metaphysical school (Carrà and de Chirico).

1925 – First solo exhibition in Barcelona; both Picasso and Miró show interest in his art; Dalí begins to collaborate with the Barcelona magazine “L’Amis de les Arts,” a relationship that will last until 1929.

1926 – Dalí visits Paris (where he meets Picasso) and Brussels; he is expelled from the Academy of Fine Arts; Miró visits Dalí in Cadaqués; second solo exhibition at Galeries Dalmau; interest from critics and public grows.

1927 – Dalí performs military service; spends the summer in the company of Lorca and Regino Sàinz de la Maza; writes the poem “San Sebastian,” which is published in “L’Amis de les Arts.”

1928 – Lluis Montanyà, Sevastià Gasch and Dalí publish the revolutionary Yellow Manifesto; his work is influenced by Miró, Arp, Ernst and Tanguy. Three of his paintings are exhibited at the 27th Carnegie Institute Painting Exhibition, Pittsburgh, United States.

1929 – Dalí is in Paris to work on Buñuel’s film. Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog), which causes a sensation; Miró presents Dalí at the Surrealist Group where he met Magritte, Paul Eluard and Helena, who would later become his wife Gala; Dalí’s first exhibition, presented by Breton, was held at Galerie Goemans in Paris.

1930 – “Le Surréalism au Service de la Révolution.” public Reverie, one of Dalí’s most important texts; ten of Dalí’s works are exhibited in what must be considered the first Surrealist exhibition in the United States; Dalí publishes the text L’Ane Pourri in which he lays the foundations of his paranoid-critical method.

1931 – First of three exhibitions held over the next three years at Galerie Pierre Colle.



1931 – The Persistence of Memory arouses enormous curiosity among New York art gallery goers in a group exhibition at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York.

1933 – Dalí signs a contract with Albert Skira, committing to create forty drawings for Lautréamont’s Les Chants de Maldoror; first solo exhibition at Julien Levy Gallery in New York; in December Dalí exhibits at Galeria d’Art Catalònia in Barcelona.

1934 – Exhibits at the Salon des Indépendants Dalí, Julien Levy Gallery, Galerie Jacques Bonjean, Carnegie Institute and ZwemmerGallery in London – his first solo exhibition in Britain; Gala and Dalí travel to New York for the first time; lectures at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Conn.

1936 – The Surrealist Exhibition of objects presented at the Galerie C. Ratton in which Dalí participated marked the “officialization” of a new expression of Surrealism; he returned to N.Y. and his picture appeared on the cover of ‘Time’ magazine; he exhibited again at the Julien Levy Gallery and in a group show at the Museum of Modern Art entitled “Fantastic Art, Dada and Surrealism.”

1937 – Dalí’s writings in which he develops the concept of Surrealism continue to be published widely; after Lorca’s assassination in ’36, at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, Dalí took refuge in Italy where he was influenced by the Renaissance and Baroque art.

1938 – Participates in Surrealist exhibition at Galerie des Beaux Arts, Paris; meets Sigmund Freud in London; collaborates with Coco Chanel on several ballet designs for the Ballets de Monte Carlo.

1939 – New York, exhibition at Levy Gallery; signs a contract with the New York International Exposition to create The Dream of Venus but has disagreements with sponsors about his ideas. Following these disagreements, when he was prevented from putting a fish head on Botticelli’s Venus, he published his “Declaration of the Independence of Imagination and Man’s Right to His Own Insanity”; Dalí designs the sets for the first paranoid ballet, Bacchanal, which is performed at the Metropolitan Opera House; Gala and Dalí return to Europe and settle in Arcachon; the Spanish Civil War ends with General Franco’s victory.

1940 – With the onset of World War II, Dalí left Europe for Virginia and stayed at Caresse Crosby’s house; he later settled in Pebble Beach, California; Dalí remained in the United States until 1948.

1941 – Dalí is very successful in America; begins a prolific collaboration with photographer Philippe Halsman, which will end with the latter’s death in 1979; Dalí finishes writing My Secret Life, published in 1942; Dalí produced libretto, sets and costumes for the ballet Labyrinth at the Metropolitan Opera House.

1942 – Retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art is replicated in eight other American cities.

1943 – Dalí becomes a welcome member of New York society; paints portraits of wealthy Americans for the Knoedler Gallery and makes the famous face of Mae West.

1944 – Theater activities intensified and began working on illustrations for several books.

1945 – The atomic bomb explosion at Hiroshima inspires Dalí to begin his “nuclear” or “atomic” period; he works with Alfred Hitchcock on the dream sequence of “Spellbound (I Will Save You).”

1947 – Dalí illustrates an edition of Montaigne’s Essays and has a solo exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art and later at the Bignou Gallery in New York.

1948 – Leaves for Europe to settle permanently in Portlligat; exhibits at the Galleria l’Obelisco in Rome; enters a new phase, in which he no longer has points of contact with the postwar avant-garde but, on the contrary, focuses on the great themes of the Western tradition.

1949-Designs sets for Strauss’s Salome at Covent Garden, London; grows his interest in harmonic and geometric theory; returns to New York.

1950 – Dalí gives the book “Memorandum” to prints in response to his sister’s book; designs sets and costumes for Don Juan Tenorio Zorrilla at the Teatro Maria Guerrero in Madrid; many of his designs from this period are influenced by religion and mythology.

1952 – Dalí explains the elements of nuclear mysticism on a tour that touches seven cities in the United States; he is commissioned to illustrate The Divine Comedy to mark Dante’s anniversary, for which he does 102 watercolors.

1954 – Major retrospective of Dalí’s work in Rome (Palazzo Pallavicini) and later in Venice and Milan.

1958 – Begins ‘optical art,’ researching optical effects and illusions; Gala and Dalí marry in the ‘Chapel of the Angels’ in Spain; Dalí is awarded the Médaille à la Qualité Francaise by the Cuban Ambassador to Paris for his series of illustrations of Don Quixote (1957).

1959 – Dalí meets Pope John XXIII.

1960 – Surrealists write the article We don’t hear it that way against Dalí’s participation in an international exhibition on Surrealism in New York; begins work on “The World of Salvador Dalí” with Robert Descharnes.

1962 – Dalí concentrates more and more on the main themes of his past career, which he continually reexamines and reworks; Descharnes publishes Dalí de Gala.

1963 – Exhibition of most recent works at Knoedler Gallery, New York; publication of Millet’s The Tragic Myth of the Angelus, written in 1933.

1964 – Dalí is awarded the Grand Cross of Isabella the Catholic; publication of Diary of a Genius; major retrospective in Tokyo, Japan, organized by Mainichi newspaper.

1965 – New York’s Gallery of Modern Art exhibits never-before-seen paintings from Reynolds Morse’s private collection; Dalí illustrates the Bible with 100 watercolors; develops an interest in holography and three-dimensional art.

1968 – Publication of Les Passions Selon Dalí and Dalí de Draeger.

1969 – Publication of Las Metamorfosis Eròticas, one of the pinnacles of his paranoid-critical method; exhibition at Knoedler Gallery arouses great interest in the American press; Dalí announces the creation of the Dalí Museum in Figueres; he works on commercial posters for the Perrier, Lanvin chocolate and French Railways companies; the Boymans-van Beuningen Museum in Rottedam organizes the first of the major retrospectives in Europe.

1971 – Official opening of the Dalí Museum in Cleveland, consisting largely of the Morse Collection.

1973 – Dalí’s “Holographic Room” is put on display; Dalí illustrates Dix Recettes D’Immortalité and Roi Je t’attends à Babylone.

1974 – Retrospective at the Stadel Museum in Frankfurt; opening of the Dalí Theater-Museum.

1978 – New York’s Guggenheim Museum presents Dalí’s first hyper-stereoscopic works; Dalí is named a foreign associate member of the Académie Francaise des Beaux-Arts.

1980 – Major retrospective at the Tate Gallery in London; Dalí delivers a portrait of the King of Spain to the Zarzuela Palace in Madrid.



1981 – Dalí slowly recovers from an illness contracted in New York; concerned about his health, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain visit Dalí at his home in Portlligat.

1982 – Attends the official opening of the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, founded by Morse; the Honorable Jordi Pujol, President of the Autonomous Government of Catalonia awards Dalí with the government’s gold medal; Gala, Dalí’s wife, dies June 10 after more than fifty years together and is buried at Púbol Castle; Dalí paints his last paintings; after his wife’s death, Dalí abandons public life and isolates himself in his Púbol Castle.

1989 – Death of Dalí: Salvador Dalí dies at the age of 85 on Jan. 23.



“I love her more than my mother, more than my father, more than Picasso, and even more than money.”
Salvador Dalí – 1965 – Diary of a Genius

Elena Ivanovna Diakonova, nicknamed Gala, first met Dalí in 1929 during a trip to Cadaqués with his family, the artist Renee Magritte and his wife.

Despite an age difference of ten years, the romance between Dalí and Gala took hold quickly. She followed him to Paris and began to influence and be part of the Surrealist movement and married Dalí in 1934 . Gala became the muse of Dalí, who cultivated an obsession with her, and represented in many Of his works.

Indeed, in her autobiography, “My Secret Life,” she points out: “She was destined to be my Gradiva, she who advances, my Victory, my Woman”.

Gala held the position of Dalí’s manager and agent and procurer of artistic contracts. He was in charge of of accounts and dealt with galleries and merchants. She encouraged him to paint and had enormous influence on his artistic production.

After Gala’s death on June 10, 1982, Dalí retired from public life.

Gala, her real name being Elena Ivanovna Diakonova was Russian, born in Kazan in 1894. A secretive and intuitive woman, not afraid of controversy, she spent her childhood in Moscow and attended university courses at a finishing school in St Petersburg. The daughter of Ivan and Antonine Diakonoff, she had two older brothers and a younger sister. Her father died when she was eleven, her mother remarried a lawyer who was able to provide Gala with the means to a good education. She studied at the Brukhonenko academy and gained high marks, becoming qualified to teach in schools. However she suffered worsening tuberculosis / consumption and in 1912 she was sent to Clavadel sanitorium in Switzerland, an institution which treated patients for the disease which was widespread during the nineteenth century.

It was here that she met and fell in love with the young Paul Eluard, he was 18, she was 19. Their mutual love of literature and culture bought them together; they were both discharged 1914.

Her health back on track, Gala is now officially engaged to Eluard. In 1916 her parents allow her to join Eluard in Paris. Following Eluard’s enlistment during World War I, they marry in 1917The following year their daughter Cecile is born, Gala’s only child. Eluard had already started making inroads as a poet, and was involved with the Surrealist movement in France, predominantly with André Breton, Philippe Soupault and Louis Aragon. Gala was a regular attendee of this auspicious circle of intellectuals.

Around 1922 Gala began a love affair with Max Ernst, indeed, Ernst lived with the Eluard’s for a time in their villa in Eaubonne, north of Paris, in a kind of ménage-à-trois.

Gala first met Dalí in 1929 during a trip to Cadaques with her family and the artist Magritte and his wife. The Belgian poet and gallery owner Camille Goemans, introduced Dalí to Eluard in Paris. Despite the ten year age gap, the love affair between Dalí and Gala quickly develops.

She follows him to Paris and begins to influence and be part of the Surrealist movement. So powerful and all-consuming was the affair, Gala effectively abandoned her own daughter when she was eleven years old. Cecile went to live with her paternal grandmother in Paris. In a 2014 interview, Cecile says of her mother, ‘After she met Dalí she was not interested in me anymore. She was never very warm (..) she was very mysterious, very secretive. I never got to meet my Russian family. I didn’t even know when exactly she was born’.

Gala married Dalí in 1934 in a civil ceremony; initially the union was rejected by Dalí’s father who did not approve of a Russian divorcee as his sons’ suitor.Gala was Dalí’s muse, he was obsessed with her, she features in many of his artworks. In fact he remarks in his autobiography ‘ My Secret Life’,’ She was destined to become my Gradiva, the one who moves forward, my victory, my wife’.

During 1937 Gala assumes more power in the position of Dalí’s business manager and agent and procurer of artistic contracts. She manages the accounts and negotiates with galleries and dealers. She encourages him to paint and has a huge influence over his artistic output.

They travelled widely in the United States during the eight years spent there in exile, with winters spent conducting business at the St Regis Hotel in New York, summers in California.

In 1948 the pair returned to Europe. Upon returning to Spain, Ana Maria, Dalí’s sister had an acrimonious reunion with her brother and his wife. She believed Gala had denounced her to the authorities during the Spanish Civil war, and she scorns her for stealing her brother affection.

From this date they would spend summers in Spain in Port Lligat and winters in New York or Paris.

Gala was a ‘model’ for Dalí, and on numerous occasions appears in his art, perhaps the most pertinent being the stunning and provocative oil on canvas, ‘Portrait of Galarina’ (1945).The work takes over a year to complete.

Seemingly during the early 1950s, there is some discord between them, Gala takes on a series of younger lovers, her sex drive was reportedly much higher than his, and she indulges her passions whilst he works in his studio.

Despite this, in 1958 they marry in a catholic ceremony at Capela de la Mare de Deu dels Angels in Girona, Spain.

During the 1960s, Gala begins to age, now well into her sixties, she hands over some control of Dalí’s artistic output to his various secretaries.

In 1968 Gala received a medieval castle in Pubol as a gift from Dalí. Ironically Dalí needed her written permission in order to visit Gala in the castle. Between 1971 and the early 1980’s, Gala would spend her summers at the castle; she regards the castle as a retreat and spends ever increasing periods of time here.

According to some reports, in 1973 at the age of eighty, she has an affair with Jeff Fenholt (fifty years her junior) the American singer and actor.
Gala died June 10th 1982, two years prior Dalí, following her worsening senile dementia, and rib and pelvis fractures. She is buried in the crypt of the castle of Pubol, which is now a visitor attraction and forms part of the estate owned and managed by the Gala Salvador Dalí Foundation.

After Gala died, Dalí retreated from public life. Interestingly in early 1982 when he realized Gala was deteriorating, he asked for the construction of two tombs with a little opening between the two, so they could hold hands beyond death.

Dalí says in his book ‘Diary of a Genius’, ‘I love her more than my mother, more than my father, more than Picasso, and even more than money’.