The Persistence of Memory: A Biography of Dali

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9780679400615: The Persistence of Memory: A Biography of Dali

Draws on previously untapped material to chronicles Dali+a7's early years, his relationship with Garcia Lorca and Andre+a7 Breton, his collaboration with Luis Bun+a1uel on his first surrealist film, and his tormented marriage to Gala. 10,000 first printing.

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About the Author:

Meredith Etherington-Smith is the author of a biography of Jean Patou, the European editor of Town & Country, and the editor of Christie's International Magazine.

From Booklist:

Dal{}i made such a spectacle of himself and allowed his work to be devalued so scandalously in his later years that it's difficult to assess his standing as an artist, but Etherington-Smith succeeds in portraying Dal{}i as a "consummate communicator," whether his medium was paint, language, or performance. Dal{}i's childhood was suitably bizarre and rife with the secretiveness of incest and adultery. These experiences contributed to Dal{}i's complex sexuality, a mixture of autoerotism, voyeurism, masochism, and homosexuality. Exceptionally intelligent and talented, Dal{}i was drawing and painting with great facility at an early age, while already displaying the tendencies of the eccentric dandy he later became. Etherington-Smith traces Dal{}i's creative evolution through his early autobiographical works to the oneiric iconography of his surrealist period, and his later obsession with religious and metaphysical subjects. The two major figures in Dal{}i's life, after his domineering father, were Federico Garc{}ia Lorca who loved him and, most importantly, the notorious nymphomaniac Gala, who was more keeper, tyrant, manager, and jailer than wife. Their 50-year liaison, while strange and often painful, was undeniably fruitful. To Gala's credit, she kept Dal{}i sane and working; to her shame, she eventually turned him into a virtual slave to ensure that he produced enough artwork to keep her in cash and young men. Etherington-Smith discusses the more unsavory aspects of Dal{}i's outlandish life with unfailing sensitivity and circumspection, while basking in the glow of his finer moments. Dal{}i dazzled the world with his unforgettable imagery, licentious wit, flair for absurdity, and gift for melding the silly with the serious and the artistic with the crass. It's a curious fact, and one indicative of Dal{}i's ability to tap into the collective unconscious, that this crazy Catalan's meticulous paintings "strike resonant chords in those who are, paradoxically, not interested in painting." This is a lucid and respectful interpretation of an enigmatic and compelling subject. Donna Seaman

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