The Persistence of Masks © wood engraving (ed. 40) image: 7 x 5 in. $100.00 (go to "Hi There" for purchase information)
Whenever a camera lens pointed in his direction, the Spanish surrealist painter, Salvador Dali (1904-1989), always struck a majestic pose with a pop-eyed expression. He kept his heavily-waxed mustache formed in the shape of Stuka dive bomber wings or curved upwards at the ends in the shape of a "U". While he was an art student at the Academia de San Fernando, he announced that there were no members of the faculty who were good enough to teach and grade him and for this he was expelled. This didn't hinder his career and he continued painting and was accepted in Paris art society. Art historians place Dali in the surrealist category and at one time he was accepted as a member of that group of artists. Dali and his wife showed up at a New York party dressed as the Lindbergh baby and the kidnapper, which caused such negative publicity that Dali apologized. When he returned to Paris the Surrealists criticized him for apologizing. Later, when Dali expressed support for the fascist, Francisco Franco and would not recant his support, the surrealists rejected him. Dali knew how to use the media and to gain notoriety, not only with his pop-eyed expression, regal demeanor and eccentric clothing, but his arrogant statements. He told an interviewer once that he WAS surrealism and he often talked of himself in the third person. The mask he put forth to the public was meant to leave no mistake that he was supreme. There are allegations that, prior to his death, he signed reams of paper and blank canvases which would be used to create prints and paintings after his death. All is not what it seems with Salvador Dali!

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