Salvador Dali (1904-1989) the Catalan, Surrealist artist was a prolific printmaker with an output of at least 1,700 prints during an artistic career spanning more than sixty years. He was ...Read more...undoubtedly one of the finest graphics artists of the 20th century.
Amongst the principal printmaking techniques he used were drypoint, etching, woodcut, and lithography. To these techniques Dali sometimes added his own idiosyncratic but innovative and spontaneous graphic experiments. For example, he made tachiste plates (irregular dabs or splotches of colour) by blasting them with explosive charges. On other occasions he attacked the plates with eggs containing lithographic ink. Some of his drypoints were produced with his 'dessin automatique' (an automatic drawing technique where the artist believed his hand movements were controlled by his subconscious mind).
Dali began to study at the Royal Academy of Art in Madrid. He owed little to his professors at the school and vigorously promoted the notion that he had been born a prodigy. He was expelled twice and never took the final examinations. His opinion was that he was more qualified than those who should have examined him.
By 1929 Dali found his personal style that would make him famous - the world of the unconscious that is recalled during our dreams. The surrealist theory is based on the theories of the psychologist Dr. Sigmund Freud. Recurring images of burning giraffes and melting watches became Dali's trademarks. His great craftsmanship allowed him to execute his paintings in a nearly photorealistic style. Unlike the sentimental painters who represent dreams as misty and delicate, Dali depicted them as hard and severely realistic in surface, as dreams often are. Dali did not permit the dream to dissolve; his pictures are, as it were, frozen nightmares.
Whether he was working from pure inspiration or on a commissioned illustration, Dali's matchless insight and symbolic complexity are apparent. Above all, Dali was a superb draftsman. His excellence as a creative artist will always set a standard for the art of the twentieth century.