Ian Gibson's fascinating portrait of Salvador Dali depicts an artist whose life is as fragmented as his paintings. Perhaps surprisingly, Gibson argues that an intense sense of shame was the driving force in the surrealist's life and art, steering him between leaps of creative invention and personal ruin. With access to previously unknown biographical details, Gibson concludes that Dali's shame centred around sexual conflict, particularly in his relationships with his muse Gala and his friend Garcia Lorca. In lieu of the sexual act, Dali cultivated a deeply exhibitionist persona and used his art as protection against the shame he associated with sex. As his fame grew so did his need to hide behind his extravagance; the sense of shame is directed outward rather than inward as a result. In the process, Dali betrayed his family, many of his artistic mentors, and in the end his own art.
Colour reproductions of Dali's work illustrate the conflicts playing out in the artist's history and mind, and while Gibson cannot fully explain the origins of Dali's genius and where the artist's true motivations originate, his argument is compelling and reveals a great deal about the tragic and brillant painter. --Aaron Abrams
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Ian Gibson's celebrated biography Federico García Lorca: A Life
won the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. His biography of Salvador Dalí
was published in 1997 to much critical acclaim. He lives near Granada in southern Spain.