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img142A good biography is like a good wine, it needs to age well and still capture our literary palate to have you come back for more. Meryle Secrest, author, of her 1986 book titled Salvador Dali succeeded admirably well, in my opinion. The book is great and full of facts, hard to find elsewhere, something a good biographer puts together for the reader who could never accomplish this on his or her own account. I found the author’s observation and opinion on the Catalan people, Salvador Dali (1904-1989) was one of them, born in Catalunya (Catalonia), interesting and as far as I can tell correct.

img147Aimg147Bimg148So far so good, the book has a fair number of photographs and here are some  I have not seen before with this “genius” in them.

img144img145It would be hard for any book to make “this larger than life artist” into somewhat of a anti hero but it succeeds well with some good anecdotal material.

img146Aimg146Perhaps “larger than life artist” is not the correct description, but “larger than life phenomenon” would be a better phrase, his exceptional works are in the major museums of the world, a Dali museum in Spain with the second largest collection of Dali’s works in St. Petersburg, Florida on the Tampa Bay waterfront. Below is a YouTube video of Dali as a contestant on the game show “What’s My Line?” a famous 1950’s television show.

Just before writing this post, going through some older issues of that icon of photography publication, the 1957 Photography Annual, guess what I found? It was a great portrait of Dali in a ten page article on the photographic work of Philippe Halsman (1906-1979).

img434Following my instincts I found an amazing collection of images of Dali on the website dedicated to this great master of portrait photography who had a long standing relationship with Salvador Dali.

This fascinating biography of Dali by Meryle Secrest starts out on the title page underneath the title with the following Russian Proverb, perhaps referring to Dali’s Russian wife Gala, or to the master himself: “The heart of another is a dark forest”.

How true it is, more on Dali in our earlier post here.