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Salvador Dali

Among the most recognizable painters the world has ever known, Salvador Dali was born in 1904 in the foothills of the Pyrenees in the tiny town of Figueres, Spain.

As a youngster, Dali attended the San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid, gaining recognition rather quickly after his first one-man show in Barcelona in 1925. Shortly thereafter, Dali received international acclaim and notoriety after three of his paintings were shown in the Carnegie International Exhibition in Pittsburgh in 1928.

By 1929, Dali had his first show in Paris and joined the surrealists and soon became a leader of the movement. His painting, "The Persistence of Memory," remains one of the best-known surrealist works. That's despite Dali's relatively short time within the surrealist movement, from which he was expelled in 1934 over political differences.

Though Dali continued to exhibit works in surrealist exhibitions through the remainder of the 1930s, Dali gradually began to move into a new type of painting by the end of the decade.

By 1940, Dali and his wife, Gala, escaped Europe during World War II, spending 1940-48 in the United States. It was in the U.S., at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, where Dali received his first major retrospective exhibit.

As Dali's career evolved, his body of work spanned impressionism, surrealism and his classical period. Dali's versatility extended beyond his paintings, as he eventually produced sculptures, films and performance pieces among other media.

In 1974, Dali opened the Teatro Museo in his hometown of Figueres. Today, the Teatro Museo houses the largest and most diverse collection of Dali's extensive works.

Upon the death of his wife in 1982, Dali's own health began to deteriorate, worsening further after the artist was burned in a home in 1984. Near the end of his life, Dali spent much time in seclusion in his apartments adjacent to the Teatro Museo. Dali passed away in 1989 from heart failure.