Salvador Dalí is the most versatile and prolific artists of the 20th century and the most famous Surrealist. Though chiefly remembered for his painterly output, in the course of his long career he successfully turned to sculpture, printmaking, fashion, advertising, writing, filmmaking, and design.
Born in Figueres, Catalonia, Dalí received his formal education in fine arts in Madrid. Influenced by Impressionism and the Renaissance masters from a young age, he became increasingly attracted to Cubism and avant-garde movements. He moved closer to Surrealism in the late ‘20s and joined the Surrealist group in 1929, soon becoming one of its leading exponents.
In ‘30s Paris, Dalí surrounded himself with a circle of friends applying art to a number of varied disciplines, beyond the study of purely pictorial art. One of these was Jean-Michel Frank, an acclaimed furniture designer and decorator in Paris at the time, who got on well with Dalí. Together they developed a number of ideas, including the Bracelli lamp, a classic example Jean-Michel’s way of designing and working that Dalí adopted himself.
Among Dalí’s projects as a designer is the garden furniture for his home in Portlligat, the architectural design of the Night Club (in the shape of a hedgehog) for the Hotel Presidente in Acapulco (1957), and a project for a bar in California in the ‘40s.
His creations weren’t limited to traditional furniture elements, but included taps, handles, knobs, prints, and objects of indeterminate use. In 1933, Dalí registered the patent for the design of a bench as an outdoor seat. In the ‘90s, a team of experts led by Oscar Tusquets set out to create the furniture that Dalí had sketched for Jean-Michel Frank, including the Leda chair and low table taken from the 1935 painting Femme à latête rose (1935). The sculptor Joaquim Camps was responsible for breathing life into them, and BD Barcelona Design took charge of their worldwide exclusive production and marketing.