Salvador Dalí

“The only difference between me and a crazy person is that I’m not crazy!”

Born in Figueras Catalonia in 1904, Salvador Dalí is considered one of the most important surrealist artists in the world. Not only because of his extraordinary personality, but especially because of his paintings, Dalí has a reputation for being crazy: His popular motifs include melting clocks and burning giraffes. During his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid, he became interested in the theories of the psychologist Sigmund Freud. He explores different art styles of Futurism and Cubism and in 1927 paints his picture “Honey is Sweeter than Blood”. It is considered his first surrealist painting. In the same year he travels to Paris. In addition to Pablo Picasso, he met the painter Joan Miró, who introduced him to the Surrealists in 1928, whom he strongly influenced with his ideas. In 1936, in the wake of the Spanish Civil War, he left Spain to live in exile in Italy, among other places. There Dalí began to combine his surrealist themes with the old-masterly technique of the Renaissance, which led to his exclusion from the circle of surrealists. Dalí already enjoys international recognition, which allows him to realize a wide variety of projects. Thus, he is not only a sculptor, graphic artist and stage designer, but also a filmmaker (An Andalusian Dog, 1929), novelist (“Hidden Faces” – Verborgene Gesichter, 1944), author for fashion magazines and jewelry designer. After exile in the United States from 1940-1948, he returned to Spain. Again and again he explores new paths in his art, experimenting with holographic collages in the 1970s, for example. At the same time, he also designed the details for the Teatre-Museu Dalí theater-museum, built in Figueres, Spain, in 1970-1972. At his request, he is buried there in the crypt under the glass dome after his death in 1989.

Femme en flammes

The work “Femme en flammes” (Woman on fire) is a gilded bronze sculpture from 1980 and is part of the Anneliese Deschauer collection.

It is based on one of Dalí’s most famous paintings: “The Burning Giraffe”. This is often seen as Dalí’s engagement with the memory of the Spanish Civil War. The dress of the sculpture is made of flames. Empty open drawers protrude from her belly, allowing the viewer to see inside. They are an allusion to Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis, according to which every person has secret “drawers”.