Salvador Dalí

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'Portrait of Salvador Dalí', by his Spanish art-friend Federico García Lorca, 1927

Salvador Dalí - in quotes. Salvador Dali (11 May 1904 – 23 January 1989) was a Spanish surrealist artist, born in Catalonia, Spain. He was a skilled draftsman, best known for the striking and bizarre images in his surrealist work and his exceptional way of life and expression.

Quotes of Salvador Dali[edit]

chronologically arranged, after date of Dali's quotes
Dali, 1927: 'Little Ashes' (Cenicitas), oil-painting; location Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía Madrid - quote of Dali, 1927: 'Just now I'm painting a beautiful woman, smiling, burnt to a crisp, with feathers of all colors, held up by a small die of burning marble; the die is in turn held up by a little puff of smoke, churned and quite; in the sky there are asses with parrot-heads, grasses and beach sand, all about to explode, all clean, incredible objective..'
photo, June 1934: 'Portrait of Man Ray and Salvador Dali in Paris', photographer, Carl van Vechten
photo of Dali, November, 1939; quote of Dali, 1942: 'The sole difference between myself and a madman is the fact that I am not mad'
Dali, 1948: 'Orlando', costume design on paper (for Orlando in William Shakespeare's play 'As You Like It'
photo by Dali & photographer Philippe Halsman, 1948: 'Dali Atomicus', unretouched version of the photograph, published in LIFE magazine
Dali, 1950: design for the cover of Maurice Sandoz, 'La Limite', 1951; print in chromalithography?; current location: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Manhattan
photo of Dali, 1965 (with Babou, the ocelot and cane); - quote of Dali, 1964: 'Surrounded by countless people who murmur my name and call me 'maître', I am about to inaugurate the exhibition of my one hundred illustrations of the Divine Comedy at the Galliera Museum'
Dali, 1967: 'Kneeling angel and two other figures - a Christmas card to the Lucas family', etching on paper; current location: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Manhattan - quote of Dali, 1964: 'Where is the real? All appearance are deceitful, the visible surface is deceptive.. .Who can prove that my hand exists?'
photo of Dali, 1972: 'Portrait of Salvador Dali, taken in Hôtel Meurice, Paris, by photographer Allan Warren - quote of Dali, 1964: 'The daily life of a genius, his sleep, his digestion, he ecstasies, his nails, his colds, his blood, his life and death are essentially different from the rest of mankind'
Dali, 1972: 'The Rainbow', painted plaster relief; current location: The M.T Abraham Center for the Visual Arts. - quote of Dali, 1973: 'I am capable of projecting myself into my little inner cinema.. ..I free myself through a secret exit from the attempts to encircle my soul.'
Dali, 1977/84: 'Profile of Time', bronze sculpture with gold, green and brown patina; location: Warsaw - quote of Dali, 1964: 'I categorically refused to consider the surrealists as just another literary and artistic group. I believed they were capable of liberating man from the tyranny of the 'practical, rational world'
Dali, 1985: 'Homage to Newton', bronze sculpture; location: at the UOB Plaza, near Boat Quay in Singapore

Quotes, 1920 - 1930[edit]

  • Telephone, pedal washbasin, white refrigerators gleaming with Ripolin [French paint], bidet, small phonograph.. ..objects of authentic and pure poetry (MPC p. 11).. ..The Parthenon was not built as a ruin. It was built on a new surface without patina, like our automobiles. / we will not always bear on our shoulders the weight of our father's corpse.
    • Quote, 1920's; MPC p. 13; as quoted in Dali and Me, Catherine Millet, - translation Trista Selous -, Scheidegger & Spiess AG, 8001 Zurich Switzerland, p. 28
  • Just now I'm painting a beautiful woman, smiling, burnt to a crisp, with feathers of all colors, held up by a small die of burning marble; the die is in turn held up by a little puff of smoke, churned and quite; in the sky there are asses with parrot-heads, grasses and beach sand, all about to explode, all clean, incredible objective..
    • Quote in Dali's letter to his art-friend Lorca, 1927; as quoted in Surrealism and the Spanish Civil War, Robin Adèle Greeley, p. 67
    • Dali is striving then for a rational approach of his paintings; he is very probably referring to his painting, he made earlier in 1927: 'Little Ashes'
  • The more I looked at his face [of Saint Sebastian] the more curious it seemed. That said, I seemed to have always known it and the aseptic morning light revealed its smallest details which such clarity, such purity, that I was impossible moved.. .In the upper part of the heliometer was St. Sebastian's magnifying glass.. .I put my eye to the magnifying glass, product of a slow distillation, at once numerical and intuitive. Each drop of water a number. Each drop of blood a geometry.
    • Quote from his poem 'Sant Sebastia', Salvador Dali 1927 - dedicated to the Spanish poet Lorca; as quoted in Dali and Me, Catherine Millet, - translation Trista Selous -, Scheidegger & Spiess AG, 8001 Zurich Switzerland, p. 46
  • One morning with Ripolin [French paint] I painted a new-born that I then left to dry on the tennis-court. After two days I found it bristling with ants that made it move to the anesthetized, silent rhythm of sea-urchins. However I at once realized that this newborn child was none other than the pink breast of my girlfriend, being frenetically eaten by the shining, metallic thickness of the phonograph. But it wasn't her breast either: it was little pieces of my cigarette paper nervously grouped around the magnetic topaz of my fiancees ring.
    • Quote from 'Mon amie et la plage' [My girlfriend and the beach], Salvador Dali, 1927; as quoted in Dali and Me, Catherine Millet, - translation Trista Selous -, Scheidegger & Spiess AG, 8001 Zurich Switzerland, pp. 47-48
  • So, André Breton, if tonight I dream I am screwing you, tomorrow morning I will paint all of our best fucking positions with the greatest wealth of detail.
    • Quote, early 1930's; as quoted by Jonathan Jones in his article 'André in wonderland'; The Guardian / Culture, 16 June, 2004
    • In the early 1930's Dalí was judged by a surrealist 'high court' at André Breton's flat; Dali was accused of 'counter-revolutionary actions' because of his supposed political sympathy for fascism. Dalí claimed that he was being an honest and pure surrealist, recording the unexpurgated contents of his psychic life - which this quote should illustrate.

Quotes, 1931 - 1940[edit]

  • One might think that through ecstasy we would have access to a world as far from reality as that of the dream. – The repugnant can become desirable, affection cruelty, the ugly beautiful, faults qualities, qualities black miseries.
    • Quote in 'Le phénomene de l'extase', in 'Minotaure' 1933; as quoted in Dali and Me, Catherine Millet, - translation Trista Selous -, Scheidegger & Spiess AG, 8001 Zurich Switzerland, p. 133
  • The Italian metaphysical movement [initiated by De Chirico ] started from the spiritual reality, a consequence of the physical miracle and it aspects grouped on an immaterial plane; all this formed a new spectral reality, in order to attain maximal, almost erotic creativity in touch. The Cubists, on the other hand, starting from this sensual-idealistic touch, found a pure, new form of spirituality. Lorca is one of those who have reached this new form of miracle by following the paths of the greatest incredulity. He does not even believe in his own hands, unless it be to turn one-legged physiological and abstract tables.
    • Quote from Dali's 'Introduction' of the exhibition of drawings, made by Lorca, 1930's (MPC 3); as quoted in Dali and Me, Catherine Millet, - translation Trista Selous -, Scheidegger & Spiess AG, 8001 Zurich Switzerland, p. 152
  • It is under such cultural circumstances that our contemporaries, systematically cretinised by the mechanicism and the architecture of auto-punition, by psychological bureaucratic congratulations, by ideological disorder and imaginative fasting, by affective paternal hungers of all kinds, seek in vain - to bite into the doting and triumphal sweetness of the plump, atavistic, tender, militarist and territorial hack of some hitlerian nurse, in order at last to be able, no matter how, to communicate with the totemic consecrated host that has just been elevated in front of their own noses and which, as is known and understood, was nothing else than the spiritual and symbolic nourishment that catholicism offered during the centuries to appease the cannibal frenzy of moral and irrational hungers.
    • Quote from from: Dalí's essay, 1935: Conquest of the Irrational - Chapter: 'The Waters in which we Swim; Julien Levi Publisher, New York, 1935. p. 8

'My Pictorial Struggle', S. Dali, 1935[edit]

Quotes from his essay: Conquest of the Irrational - Chapter: 'My Pictorial Struggle'; publisher Julien Levi, New York, 1935

  • It seems to me perfectly obvious when my enemies, my friends and the public in general pretend not to understand the meaning of the images that arise arid that I transcribe in my pictures, How can you expect then to understand them when I myself, who am their "maker", understand them as little?
    • Chapter: 'My Pictorial Struggle', p. 11
  • The fact that I myself, at the moment of painting, do not understand my own pictures, does not mean that these pictures have no meaning; on the contrary, their meaning is so profound, complex, coherent, and involuntary that it escapes the most simple analysis of logical intuition. To describe my pictures in everyday language, to explain them, it is neccessary to submit them to special analyses and preferably with the most ambitiously objective scientific rigour possible. Then all explanation arises a posteriori; once the picture already exists as phenomenon.
    • Chapter: 'My Pictorial Struggle', pp. 11-12
  • My whole ambition in the pictorial domain is to materialise the images of concrete irrationality with the most imperialist fury of precision. - In order that the world of the imagination and of concrete irrationality may be as objectively evident.. ..as that of the exterior world of phenomenal reality. - The important thing is what one wishes to communicate: the concrete irrational subject. - The means of pictorial expression are placed at the service of this subject.
    • Chapter: 'My Pictorial Struggle', p. 12
  • In the degree that the images of concrete irrationality approach phenomenal reality, the corresponding means of expression approach those of the great realist painters - Velasquez and Vermeer of Delft - to paint realistically according to irrational thought, according to the unknown imagination.
    • Chapter: 'My Pictorial Struggle', pp. 12-13
  • Surrealism in its first period offered specific methods for approaching the images of concrete irrationality. These methods, based on the exclusively passive and receptive role of the surrealist subject, are now [1935] in liquidation and giving place to new surrealist methods of systematic exploration of the irrational.
    • Chapter: 'My Pictorial Struggle', p. 13
  • The essays in simulation of [Paul] Eluard and [Andre] Breton, Breton's recent poem-objects, the latest images of Rene Magritte, the "method" of the latest sculpture of Picasso and the theoretic and pictorial activity of Salvador Dali prove this need of concrete materialisation in current reality, of giving objective value on the real plane to the delirious unknown world of our irrational experiences. Against the remembrance of dreams and the virtual and impossible images of purely receptive states, "that can only be recounted", there are the physical facts of "objective" irrationality, with which one can already actually wound oneself.
    • Chapter: 'My Pictorial Struggle', pp. 14-15
  • It was in 1929 that Salvador Dali [Dali is writing here about himself] brought his attention to hear upon the internal mechanism of paranoiac phenomena and envisaged the possibility of an experimental method based on the sudden power of the systematic associations proper to paranoia; this method afterwards became the delirio-critical synthesis which hears the name of "paranoiac-critical activity". Paranoia: delirium of interpretive association bearing a systematic structure. Paranoiac-critical activity: spontaneous method of irrational knowledge based upon the interpretive-critical association of delirious phenomena.
    • Chapter: 'My Pictorial Struggle', p. 15
  • It is a question of the systematic and interpretive organization of the sensational, scattered and narcissist surrealist experimental material, - that is to say, of everyday surrealist events:,br>nocturnal pollution, false recollection, dream, diurnal fantasy, the concrete transformation of nocturnal phosphene into a hypnagogic image or of "waking phosphene" into an objective image, - the nutritive caprice, - inter-uterine claims, - anamorphic hysteria, - the voluntary retention of the urine, - the involuntary retention of insomnia - the fortuitous image of exclusively exhibitionist tendency, -the incomplete action, - the frantic manner, - the regional sneeze, the anal wheelbarrow, the minimal mistake, the liliputian malaise, the super-normal physiological state, - the picture one leaves off painting, that which one paints, the territorial ringing of the telephone, "the deranging image", etc., etc.,
    all these things, I say, and a thousand other instantaneous or successive sollicitations, revealing a minimum of irrational intentionality or, on the contrary, a minimum of suspect phenomenal nullity, are associated, by the mechanisms of paranoiac-critical activity, in an indestructible delirious-interpretive system of political problems, paralytic images, more or less mammiferous questions, playing the role of the obsessing idea.
    • Chapter: 'My Pictorial Struggle', pp. 15-16
  • Paranoiac-critical activity is an organizing and productive force of objective chance. Paranoiac-critical activity no longer considers surrealist phenomena and images by themselves but, on the contrary, as a coherent whole of systematic and significant relations.
    • Chapter: 'My Pictorial Struggle', p. 16

Quotes, 1941 - 1950[edit]

  • We know today that form is always the product of an inquisitorial process of matter – the specific reaction of matter when subjected to the terrible coercion of space choking it on all sides, pressing and squeezing it out, producing the swellings that burst form it life to the exact limits of the rigorous contours of its own originality of reaction.
    • Quote, in the 'Introduction' of The Secret Life of Salvador Dali - first publication in 1942 - Vision Press, London 1976, p. 2
  • Having reached the surface [in the Paris' Metro] I remained crazed for a long time, gathering my spirits. I had the impression that I had been vomited by a monstrous anus after being tumultuously brewed by an intestine. I did not know where I was; as though spat out on to unknown land, a pointless little excrement.. .And, a miracle!.. .This shock was a beneficial revelation. One must at every opportunity use the subterranean paths of action and thought, erase the traces, appear suddenly and irrelevantly, endless conquer oneself, never hesitate to sodomize one's soul so that it will be reborn purer and stronger than ever.
    • Quote from The Secret Life of Salvador Dali - first publication in 1942 - Vision Press, London 1976, p. 210
  • From the moment I arrived in Cadaqués [Summer of 1929] I was assailed by a resurgence of my childhood period. The six years of secondary school, the three years in Madrid and the trip I had just made to Paris, all totally faded into the background, while all the fantasies and representations of my childhood period came back to take victorious possession of my mind.
    • Quote from Secret Life'; as quoted in La vida secreta de Salvador Dalí, S. Dali. In: Complete Works, Autobiographical Articles 1. Ediciones Destino / Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation, Barcelona / Figueres, 2003, p. 597
  • In that privileged place, reality and the sublime dimension almost come together. My mystical paradise begins in the plains of the Empordà, is surrounded by the Alberes hills, and reaches plenitude in the bay of Cadaqués. This land is my permanent inspiration. The only place in the world, too, where I feel loved. When I painted that rock that I entitled 'The Great Masturbator', I did nothing more than render homage to one of the promontories of my kingdom, and my painting was a hymn to one of the jewels of my crown
  • It ['The Great Masturbator', 1929] represented a large head, yellow like wax, with very red cheeks, long eyelashes and an imposing nose compressed against the ground. This face had no mouth, and in place of the mouth an enormous lobster was hooked. The lobster's belly was decomposing and full of ants. Some of these ants were scurrying through the space that would have been occupied by the non-existent mouth of the great anguished face, whose head ended in 1900-style architecture and ornamentation. The title of the painting was The Great Masturbator.
    • Quote from La vida secreta de Salvador Dalí. In: Complete Works, Autobiographical Articles 1. Ediciones Destino / Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation, Barcelona / Figueres, 2003, p. 648
  • What is an elegant woman? An elegant woman is a woman who despises you and who has no hair under her arms.
    • In The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí - first publication in 1942
  • Surrealism will at least have served to give experimental proof that total sterility and attempts at automatizations have gone too far and have led to a totalitarian system.. .Today's laziness and the total lack of technique have reached their paroxysm in the psychological signification of the current use of the college [= collage]
    • Quote from the catalog, 1943, of his exhibition at the Knoedler Gallery in New York; as quoted on Wikipedia: Salvador Dali
    • Dali attacked here some frequently-used Surrealist techniques
  • Bread has always been one of the oldest subjects of fetishism and obsession in my work, the first and the one to which I have remained the most faithful. I painted the same subject 19 years ago 'Basket of Bread, 1929'. By making a very careful comparison of the two pictures, everyone can study all the history of painting right there, from the linear charm of primitivism to stereoscopic hyper-aestheticism.
  • Myself at the age of six, when I believed I was a little girl, raising with a very great care the skin of the sea in order to observe a dog sleeping in the shadow of the water.
    • title of his oil-painting, Dali painted in 1950
  • In the first place, in 1950, I had a 'cosmic dream' in which I saw this image in colour and which in my dream represented the 'nucleus of the atom.' This nucleus later took on a metaphysical sense; I considered it 'the very unity of the universe,' the Christ!
    • inscription, 1950; on the bottom of his studies for the painting 'Christ of Saint John of the Cross'; as quotes by Robert Descharnes, Dalí. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2003.
    • Dalí explained his inspiration for the painting 'Christ of Saint John of the Cross'

Quotes, 1951 - 1960[edit]

  • In 1951 the two most subversive things that could happen to an ex-surrealist were: firstly, to become a mystic and secondly, to know how to draw. These two models of rigour happened to me at the same time.
  • The H-bomb is coming out of my intuitive and inspirationic command, for my spirit speaketh and speaketh psychologically, intuitively, and inspirationally and guides the destinies of the nations of the earth.. .My Assumption is the opposite of the atomic bomb. Instead of disintegration of matter, we have the integration, the reconstitution of the real and glorious body of the Virgin in the heavens.
    • Quote from a review of Dali's exhibition at the Carstairs Gallery; 'The New Yorker', 20 December, 1952 p. 24
    • Dali is referring to one of his exhibited paintings there, very probably 'The Madonna of Port Lligat'
  • Every morning upon awakening, I experience a supreme pleasure: that of being Salvador Dalí, and I ask myself, wonderstruck, what prodigious thing will he do today, this Salvador Dalí.
    • quote of 1953; as quoted in Smithsonian magazine.
      Variants:
      Every morning when I wake up, I experience an exquisite joy — the joy of being Salvador Dalí — and I ask myself in rapture: What wonderful things is this Salvador Dalí going to accomplish today?
      Every morning when I awake, the greatest of joys is mine: that of being Salvador Dalí.
  • In the Surrealist period, I wanted to create the iconography of the interior world and the world of the marvelous, of my father Freud. Today, the exterior world and that of physics has transcended the one of psychology. My father today is Dr. Heisenberg.
    • Quote from his Anti-Matter Manifesto', 1958; as quoted on Wikipedia: Salvador Dali
  • When I have at last become like a statue through the exacerbation of my ego which has led me to this ultimate sclerosis.. .Then and only then will I at last be able to set this statue up and come out of myself into the crowd to go and see the world. No one will notice anything because they will all be looking at the statue and I will be able to go about, free at last.. .It's then that I shall realize my eternal dream: to become a newspaper reporter!
    • Quote in 'The Dali News', Dimanche 27 November 1960, Salvador Dali; as quoted in Dali and Me, Catherine Millet, - translation Trista Selous -, Scheidegger & Spiess AG, 8001 Zurich Switzerland, pp. 163-164
  • Popularity, even at its most mediocre, delights me.. .I behave nicely with the public, out of the same concern for prudence that makes me generous in cases of epidemics or other collective calamities.. .Beware, I tell myself, because you may be judged at the end of the time, if there is an end of time and a judge.. .Beware of the day when no one ask you for anything anymore, be nice with the cratinization of advertising.. .Any reflection of my existence in others clams my worries about the feeble degree of reality of things, the world and myself. It's from all these eyes, in which I see myself seen, that I take my substance.. ..but where is substance? If it is not in nature it can't be in God.. .In a reality that endlessly disperses before the eye, fades away between our fingers, the only really material matter, the only really substantial substance, would be God.
    • Quote from (MPC 3); as cited in Dali and Me, Catherine Millet, - translation Trista Selous -, Scheidegger & Spiess AG, 8001 Zurich Switzerland, p. 167
  • Let us watch this de Kooning [leading Abstract-Expressionist painter in New York] with his prematurely white hair making his great sleepwalker's movements, as though he was waiting in a dream to open bays of Biscay, to explode islands like pieces of orange or Parma violets, to tear continents from a cerulean blue split by oceans of Naples yellow.. ..if by good or by ill fortune, in the middle of this Dionysian demiurg the image of 'The Eternal Feminine should appear.. the least that might have happened to her would be that she should emerge (from all this chaos) wearing nothing but a little make-up.
    • Dali's comment on the 'Woman-paintings', c. 1960 [a.o. Woman-III ] of the American abstract-expressionist painter Willem de Kooning: (MPC 75); as quoted in Dali and Me, Catherine Millet, (translated by Trista Selous), Scheidegger & Spiess AG, 8001 Zurich Switzerland, p. 135

Quotes, 1961 - 1970[edit]

  • Let us illuminate my political positions. I have always been against any affiliation.. .I am the only Surrealist who always refused to be part of any organization whatsoever. I was never a Stalinist, nor fooled by any association. Illustrious members of the Falange [Spanish ultra-right wing] I never got involved.. .If I accepted the Grand Cross of Isabella the Catholic from Franco's [Spanish fascist dictator] hands, it is because in Soviet Russia I was not awarded the Lenin Prize.
    • Quote from Entretiens avec Salvador Dali, Alain Bosquet, 1966; as quoted in The shameful life of Salvador Dali, Ian Gibson, New York / London, Norton & Co, 1997
  • Men who fuck easily, and can give themselves without difficulty, have only a very diminished creative potency.. .Look at Leonardo da Vinci, Hitler, Napoleon, they all left their mark on their times, and they were more or less impotent.
    • Quote from Entretiens avec Salvador Dali, Alain Bosquet, 1966; as quoted in The shameful life of Salvador Dali, Ian Gibson, New York / London, Norton & Co, 1997
  • Take me, I am the drug; take me, I am hallucinogenic.
    • Quote from Dali by Dali (1970), as quoted in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (2012), p. 737

Diary of a Genius (1964)[edit]

Quote from: Diary of a Genius (1964), Creation Books, 1998
  • Ever since the French revolution there has developed a vicious, cretinizing tendency to consider a genius (apart from his work) as a human being more or less the same in every sense as other ordinary mortals. This is wrong. And if this is wrong for me, the genius of the greatest spiritual order or our day, a true modern genius, it is even more wrong when applied to those who incarnated the almost divine genius of the Renaissance, such as Raphael.
    • p. 1
  • Democratic governments are not suited to the publication of the thunderous revelations I am in the habit of making. The unpublished parts will appear later.. ..when Europe will have restored its traditional monarchies.
    • p. 2
  • I was never capable of being an average pupil. I would either seem refractory to any teaching and give the impression of being completely dumb or I would fling myself on my work with a frenzy, a patience, and a willingness to learn that astonished everybody. But to awaken my zeal, it was necessary to offer me something I liked. Once my appetite had been whetted, I became ravenously hungry.
    • pp. 5-6
  • I categorically refused to consider the surrealists as just another literary and artistic group. I believed they were capable of liberating man from the tyranny of the 'practical, rational world'. I was going to become the Nietzsche of the irrational. I, the obsessed rationalist, was the only one who knew what I wanted: I was not going to submit to irrationality for its own sake, to the narcissist and passive irrationality others practiced. I would do completely the opposite. I would fight for the 'conquest of the irrational'. In the meantime my friends would let themselves be overwhelmed by the irrational, succumbing, like so many others, Nietzsche included, to that romantic weakness.
    • p. 9
  • This book [Diary of a Genius] will prove that that the daily life of a genius, his sleep, his digestion, his ecstasies, his nails, his colds, his blood, his life and death are essentially different from those of the rest of mankind.
    • p. 11 - in: the 'Prologue' of The Diary of a Genius
  • It is not necessary for the public to know whether I am joking or whether I am serious, just as it is not necessary for me to know it myself.
    • p. 12
  • Someone like myself, who claimed to be a real madman, living and organized with a Pythagorean precision..
    • p. 17
  • Surrealism in its early period offered specific methods to bring images closer to concrete irrationality. These methods, based on the exclusive passive and receptive role of the 'surrealist subject', are bankrupt and are giving way to new surrealist methods for the systematic exploration of the irrational.. .The new delirious images of concrete irrationality suggest their physical, real 'possibility'; they go beyond the domain of psycho-analysable fantasies and 'virtual' representations.. .Against the dream memory and impossible, virtual images of purely receptive states that one can only recount, the physical facts of 'objective' irrationality with which one can already hurt oneself.
    • p. 23 - on new Surrealism techniques and methods.
  • Mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature. Never try to correct them. On the contrary: rationalize them, understand them thoroughly. After that, it will be possible for you to sublimate them.
    • p. 26
  • The anagram 'Avida Dollars' was a talisman for me [referring to 'Divine Dali', so called by André Breton ]. It rendered the rain of dollars fluid, sweet and monotonous. Someday I shall tell the whole truth about the way in which this blessed disorder of Danae was garnered. It will be a chapter of a new book, probably my masterpiece: On the Life of Salvador Dali, considered as a Work of Art [never written].
    • p. 35
  • Don't bother about being modern. Unfortunately it is the one thing that, whatever you do, you cannot avoid.
    • p. 42
  • July 1952/the 27th/This morning an exceptional defecation: two small turds in the shape of a rhinoceros horns. Such a scanty stool worries me. I would have thought the champagne, so alien to my routine, would have had a laxative effect. (DG p. 59)
  • - the 29th/Because of a very long fart, really a very long, and let us be frank, melodious fart, that I produced when I woke up, I was reminded of Michel de Montaigne. (DG p. 60)
  • - September 1952/the2nd/Again this morning, while I was on the toilet, I had a truly remarkable piece of insight. My bowel movement, by the way, was perfectly exceptional, smooth and odourless.
    • pp. 59 – 64
  • And man's highest mission on earth is to spiritualize everything, it is his excrement in particular that needs it most. As a result, I increasingly dislike all scatological jokes and all forms of frivolity on this subject. Indeed, I am dumbfounded at how little philosophical and metaphysical importance the human mind has attached to the vital subject of excrement.
    • p. 65 (Dali's remark, in 1952)
  • I think that the sweetest freedom for a man on earth consists in being able to live, if he likes, without having the need to work.
    • p. 79
  • If you refuse to study anatomy, the arts of drawing and perspective, the mathematics of aesthetics, and the science of color, let me tell you that this is more a sign of laziness than of genius.
    • p. 81
  • Begin by drawing and painting like the old masters. After that do as you see fit - you will always be respected.
    • p. 82
  • Sleeping is a way of dying or at least of dying to reality, better still it is the death of reality, but reality dies in love as in dreams. The life of man is entirely occupied by the bloody osmosis of dreams and love.
    • p. 126 In: L'amour; as quoted in Dali and Me.
  • It is with Millet's 'Angelus' that I associate all the pre-twilight and twilight memories of my childhood, regarding them as the most delirious, in other words (commonly speaking) poetic.. .Most frequently, at the end of summer days, I would leave the streets of the town and go to the fields to listen to the sounds of insects and plunge into infinite reveries.
    • p. 126 - (MTA), youth memories as a young boy, living in Spain
  • 'Up there!'. Wonderful words! All my life has been dominated by these antagonisms: high and low. In my childhood I tried desperately to be high up.
  • - There was nothing left between me and the void. I must have spent several minutes lying on my stomach with my eyes closed to resist its almost invincible attraction.
  • - Most of my readers will have felt the sensation of suddenly falling into the void, just at the point when sleep is going to take them over completely. Waking up with a start, your heart convulsively trembling, you don't always realise that this sensation of vertigo is a reminiscence of the expulsion of being born.. .All those who throw themselves into the void have at bottom only one desire, to be reborn at any price.
    • pp. 131-132 - (VSD), Dali's quotes on the void.
  • Where is the real? All appearance are deceitful, the visible surface is deceptive. I look at my hand.. .It is nerves, muscles, bones. Let us go deeper: it is molecules and acids. Further still: it is an impalpable waltz of electrons and neutrons. Further still: an immaterial nebula. Who can prove that my hand exists?
    • pp. 133-134 - (VSD)
  • It is difficult to hold the world's interest for more than half an hour at a time.. .I have been successful for twenty years, to the extent that papers publish the most incomprehensible new items of our time, sent by teletype: PARIS. Dali gave lecture at Sorbonne on Vermeer's paintings 'lacemaker' and the rhinoceros.. ..NEW YORK. Dali landed in New York dressed in a golden space-suit.
    • p. 171
  • Surrounded by countless people who murmur my name and call me 'maître', I am about to inaugurate the exhibition of my one hundred illustrations of the Divine Comedy at the Galliera Museum.
    • p. 189 - Prologue

Quotes, 1971 - 1980[edit]

  • Le Surréalisme, c'est moi.
    • I am Surrealism.
      • As quoted in Salvador Dali : Master of Surrealism and Modern Art (1971) by George Cevasco, p. 13
  • The pleasure of the flesh can be fulfilled only if a particular dimension is created, a kind of stereoscopic phenomenon, an imaginary hologram as real as reality.. .I need all these suddenly present images of my past that forms the fabric of my entire life.
    • Quote from Comment on deviant Dali, les aveux inavouables de Salvador Dali, André Parinaud (1973)
  • But I very early realized, instinctively, my life formula: to get others to accept as natural the excesses of one's personality an thus to relieve oneself of his own anxieties by creating a sort of collective participation.
    • Quote from Comment on deviant Dali, les aveux inavouables de Salvador Dali, André Parinaud (1973); as quoted in The Unspeakable confessions of Salvador Dali, Parinaud, ed. W. H. Allen, London 1976, p. 17
  • ..the paint marks [in Impressionist paintings] placed apparently without order and which suddenly became magnificently ordered if one knew how to make the right distance.. ..to communicate a deep, sun-drenched image of a stream, landscape or face.. ..My eyes were popping out of my head.
    • Quote from Comment on deviant Dali, les aveux inavouables de Salvador Dali, André Parinaud (1973); as quoted in The Unspeakable confessions of Salvador Dali, Parinaud, ed. W. H. Allen, London 1976, p. 42
  • Shit scared them [the Surrealists]. Shit and arseholes. Yet, what was more human and more needful of transcending! From that moment, I know I would keep on obsessing them with what they most dreaded. And when I invented Surrealist objects, I had the deep inner fulfillment of knowing, while the [Surrealist] group went into ecstasies over their operation, that these objects very exactly reproduced the contradictions of a rectal sphincter at work, so that what they were thus admiring was their own fear.
    • Quote from Comment on deviant Dali, les aveux inavouables de Salvador Dali, André Parinaud (1973); as quoted in The Unspeakable confessions of Salvador Dali, Parinaud, ed. W. H. Allen, London 1976, p. 113
  • I am capable of projecting myself into my little inner cinema.. .I free myself through a secret exit from the attempts to encircle my soul.
    • Quote from Comment on deviant Dali, les aveux inavouables de Salvador Dali, André Parinaud (1973)
  • My supreme game is to imagine myself dead, devoured by worms. I close my eyes and, with incredible details of absolute, scatological precision, I see myself being slowly eaten and digested by an infernal swarm of large greenish maggots gorging themselves on my flesh.
    • Quote from Comment on deviant Dali, les aveux inavouables de Salvador Dali, André Parinaud (1973) p. 12
  • Death is the thing I am most afraid of, and the resurrection of the flesh, a great Spanish theme, is the one that it is hardest for me to accept, from the point of view of.. ..life.
    • Quote from Comment on deviant Dali, les aveux inavouables de Salvador Dali, André Parinaud (1973) p. 22
  • In the subconscious you fuck ugly people, never beautiful, because the libido always desires something repulsive.
    • Quote from an interview, originally conducted by Victor Bockris in 1974; as quoted in Exposure, October 1990
  • I like it, murder, because this is courage. It is anti-bourgeois. Murder is closer to heaven, because after becoming 'remords de conscience', one prays, one opens the sky, and the angels say, 'Good morning'!
    • Quote from an interview originally conducted by Victor Bockris in 1974; as quoted in Exposure, October 1990
  • You know the worst thing is freedom. Freedom of any kind is the worst for creativity. You know, Dalí spent two months in jail in Spain, and these two months were the most enjoyable and happy in my life. Before my jail period, I was always nervous, anxious. I didn't know if I should make a drawing, or perhaps make a poem, or go to the movies or the theater, or catch a girl, or play with the boys. The people put me in jail, and my life became divine. Tremendous!
    • from an interview originally conducted by Victor Bockris in 1974; as quoted in 'Exposure', October 1990
  • Ah, UNESCO is the most garbage. Any kind of organization for the good will of the people is impossible. It is necessary for the contrary. Young people need plenty of difficulties to achieve something, you know? If you receive a little money for this, a little money for that, everything becomes mediocre, and collapses ig-no-min-i-ously!
    • from an interview originally conducted by Victor Bockris in 1974; as quoted in 'Exposure', October 1990
  • Drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility of cheating. It is either good or bad.
    • Quote from People, 27 September 1976
  • Every time I lose a little sperm I'm convinced I've wasted it. I always feel guilty afterwards.. .To start with, I'm not as impotent as all that.
    • Quote in an interview, published in 'Playboy', 1976

Quotes, 1981 - 1989[edit]

  • I don't do drugs. I'm drugs.
    • In an interview conducted by Paloma Chamorro in Madrid (Spain), 1982; as quoted in Salvador Dalí: a la conquista de lo irracional, Javier Pérez Andújar (2003) p. 245
  • The first man to compare the cheeks of a young woman to a rose was obviously a poet; the first to repeat it was possibly an idiot.
  • I can say without fear of falling into the slightest exaggeration that each outline of a rock, / and / of the beaches of Cadaques [in North-Spain, where Dali spent his childhood], each of the geological anomalies of its landscape and its unique light I know by heart, for in the paths of my wandering solitudes, it was these silhouettes of stones and its states of light attached to the structure / and the aesthetic substance / of the landscape that were the sole protagonists on the mineral impossibility of which I project day after day all the accumulated and chronically unsatisfied tension of mt erotic-emotional life.
    • Quote from the catalog of the exhibition 'Dali una vida de libro', Bibliotheca de Catalunya, Barcelona 2004
    • Dali's memory is written in a mixture of French and Catalan accent
  • When you are a genius, you do not have the right to die, because we are necessary for the progress of humanity..
    • Quote, early January 1986, in: 'El País, Dalí vuelve a casa', 17 July 1986: as quoted on Wikipedia: Salvador Dali
    • Dali was returned to the Teatro-Museo and on his return he made his last public appearance. He was taken in a wheelchair to a room where press and TV were waiting and made this brief public statement

Miscellaneous[edit]

  • The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant.
    • Quote from Tiny Surrealism: Salvador Dalí and the Aesthetics of the Small, Roger Rothman, 2012 UNP-Nebraska.

Quotes about Salvador Dalí[edit]

chronologically arranged, after date of the quotes about Dali
sculpture of Salvador Dali, made by Arno Breker, 1975 - quote of Dali, 1953: 'Every morning upon awakening, I experience a supreme pleasure: that of being Salvador Dalí, and I ask myself, wonderstruck, what prodigious thing will he do today, this Salvador Dalí'
  • Dali has endowed Surrealism with an instrument of primary importance, in particular the paranoiaccritical method, which has immediately shown itself capable of being applied equally to painting, poetry, the cinema, to the construction of typical surrealist objects, to fashion, to sculpture, to the history of art and even, if necessary, to all manner of exegesis.
  • What a wonderful thing it is for an artist [Dali] to find exactly the right wife [Gala] for him. This must only happen once in a hundred times only. It has happened to Dali and I think it is going to make the entire difference to his career - in fact all the difference between him remaining an interesting phenomenon of a distorted decade or in him becoming one of the two or three leading figures of the coming age.
  • I have been inclined to regard the Surrealists as complete fools, but that young Spaniard with his candid, fanatical eyes and his undeniable technical mastery, has changed my estimate.
    • Quote of Sigmund Freud, in a letter to novelist Stefan Zweig, after meeting in London in 1939. Reported in foreword to The Secret Life of Salvador Dali
  • The art of Salvador Dalí, an extreme metaphor at a time when only the extreme will do, constitutes a body of prophecy about ourselves unequaled in accuracy since Freud's Civilization And Its Discontents. Voyeurism, self-disgust, the infantile basis of our fears and longings, and our need to pursue our own psychopathologies as a game — these diseases of the psyche Dali has diagnosed with dismaying accuracy. His paintings not only anticipate the psychic crisis which produced our glaucous paradise, but document the uncertain pleasures of living within it. The great twin leitmotifs of the 20th century — sex and paranoia — preside over his life, as over ours.
    • Quote of J. G. Ballard, in 'Introduction' to Diary of a Genius (1974) by Salvador Dalí
  • Divine Dali!
    • Quote of André Breton, his quote, taken from the prologue of Diary of a Genius, Salvador Dali, London Pan Books, 1976, 1980 p. 35
  • Surprisingly, Dalí said that his soft watches [in his painting 'The Persistence of Memory', 1931 were not inspired by the theory of relativity, but by the surrealist perception of a Camembert cheese melting in the sun. The painter insisted on this explanation in his reply letter to Prigogine, who took it as Dalí's reaction to Einstein's coldly mathematical theory.
    • Quote of from Wikipedia; source: Salvador Dali (2008). 'The Dali Dimension: Decoding the Mind of a Genius' (DVD). Media 3.14-TVC-FGSD-IRL-AVRO

External links[edit]

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