As a very young artist in training at the academy in Madrid, Salvador Dalí worked in two distinct modes—a highly detailed naturalism (under the influence of the “return to order”) and a more avant-garde, cubist-derived style that owed much to Picasso (whom Dalí visited in Paris in 1926). Then, in 1927, the twenty-three-year-old artist, influenced by André Breton’s Surrealist Manifesto of 1924 and the paintings of such artists as Joan Miró and Yves Tanguy, began to move towards Surrealism. In the spring of 1929, to coincide with the shooting of Buñuel’s Un Chien andalou, Dalí organized his first Paris exhibition, thereby gaining acclaim as a full member of the surrealist movement.
This book offers a wealth of new material about Dalí’s formative years as a young artist in Spain and first years in Paris. Fèlix Fanés, one of the most knowledgeable Dalí scholars in the world, transforms perceptions of the artist and shows how the stage was set for the emergence of Dalí’s mature artistic personality. With a fresh and detailed assessment of Dalí’s truly revolutionary work, Fanés reveals the central role of the artist not only in the development of the Surrealist movement but also the course of 20th-century art.
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Fèlix Fanés is former director of archives at the Salvador Dalí Museum, Figueras, Spain, and is professor of history of art at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.From Publishers Weekly:
Starred Review. The period between Salvador Dalí's (1904–1989) first solo exhibition in Barcelona and his collaboration with Luis Buñuel on the film L'Âge d'or was essential for the artist's aesthetic and political evolution. Internationally renowned Dalí scholar Fanés focuses on these five formative years (1925–1930) in his meticulously researched and lucidly written study of the intellectual, artistic and historical circumstances that shaped the artist's early career. Organized chronologically, the book begins with Dalí's neoclassical roots and culminates with his embrace of modernist architecture and increasing antagonism toward his native Catalan culture. Of particular interest are Fanés's analyses of Dalí's varied influences, including Vermeer, Picasso, Miró, de Chirico and poet Paul Eluard. An appendix of previously unpublished and obscure Dalí texts rounds out this comprehensive work. Those in search of a biographically driven portrait should look elsewhere, however; one of Fanés explicit aims is to avoid a psychological, anecdotal approach to a figure whose personality and self-constructed image at times overwhelmed his oeuvre. Fanés's book will be invaluable to Dalí scholars, art and cultural historians of the period. The general reader will also find it significant and highly readable. Numerous beautiful images, some rare, illustrate this impressive and important contribution. 30 color, 110 b&w illus. (Apr.)
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