Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dalí y Domenech was born in Figueras, Catalonia, on May 11, 1904. In 1921 he attended the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid, where he befriended the poet Federico García Lorca and Luis Buñuel. In 1925 he held his first solo exhibition at the Galeries Dalmau in Barcelona. In 1926 he was expelled from the Academy and the following year he went to Paris, where he met Pablo Picasso. In 1929 he collaborated with Buñuel on the film Un Chien Andalou. He returned to Paris in the same year and met Tristan Tzara and Paul Eluard. In this period he executed his first surrealist paintings and for all the thirties he collaborated in several surrealist publications illustrating the works of the writers and poets of the homonymous movement.
In 1933 he held his first solo exhibition in the United States, at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York. The following year, because of his political views, he received severe criticism from the surrealist group so much so that he was dismissed. Towards the end of this same decade he made several trips to Italy to study the art of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In 1940 he took refuge in the United States, where he dealt with theatrical productions, wrote, illustrated books, painted and was received by the public and the media as one of the great protagonists of European art. In 1941, the Museum of Modern Art in New York held a major retrospective of his work, later traveling to the United States. In 1942 he published his autobiography The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí and exhibited at M. Knoedler and Co. in New York. He returned to Europe in 1948 and settled in Spain in Port Lligat; these were the first paintings of religious subjects. Retrospectives of his work were held in 1954 in Rome at Palazzo Pallavicini, and in 1964 in Tokyo, Nagoya and Kyoto.
In the 1960s he continued to paint, write and illustrate books. In 1971 the Salvador Dalí Museum was inaugurated in Cleveland, moving to Saint Petersburg (Florida) in 1982, while in 1973 the M. Knoedler and Co. gallery in New York set up the Dalinian Holographic Room. In 1980 another important retrospective took place in Paris at the Centre Georges Pompidou, and his works are also exhibited at the Tate Gallery in London. The artist died in Figueras on 23 January 1989.