August 1929 – 2019: The 90th anniversary of the first encounter between Dalí and Gala.

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  • August 1929 – 2019: The 90th anniversary of the first encounter between Dalí and Gala.
Monday, 2019, August 5

Cadaqués, August 1929.

One morning a car stopped in front of our house. It was the surrealist poet Paul Éluard, accompanied by his wife. They were tired from a long trip, having arrived from Switzerland, where they had been visiting Réne Crevel. […] Éluard’s wife, Gala, struck me as having a very intelligent face, but she seemed to be in very bad humor, and rather annoyed at having come. At five o'clock our whole little surrealist group went to look up the Éluards. We drank in the shadow of the plane trees. […] That evening, during the walk, I spoke with Gala of intellectual questions, and she was immediately surprised by the rigor which I displayed in the realm of ideas. […] We accompanied the Éluards back to the Hotel Miramar, and we agreed to meet, all of us, on the beach in front of our house the next day at eleven o’clock and go swimming. […]”.

The following morning, when “eleven o’clock rang out from the bell-tower of Cadaquès”, Dalí, as he wrote in his autobiography “The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí”, was ready to receive the illumination of his “genius Gala Gradiva, Helen of Troy, Saint Helen, Gala Galatea Placida”.

I went over to the window” wrote Dalí. “She was already there. Gala, Éluard’s wife. It was she! Galuchka Rediviva! I had just recognized her by her bare back. Her body still had the complexion of a child’s. Her shoulder blades and the sub-renal muscles had that somewhat sudden athletic tension of an adolescent’s. But the small of her back, on the other hand, was extremely feminine and pronounced, and served as an infinitely svelte hyphen between the willful, energetic and proud leanness of her torso and her very delicate buttocks which the exaggerated slenderness of her waist enhanced and rendered greatly more desirable. […] She was destined to be my Gradiva, she who advances, my victory, my wife”.

It is with these words that Dalí narrated his first encounter with Gala, whose real name was Elena Ivanovna Diakonova, on that summer of 1929, spent in Cadaqués.

This month marks ninety years since Dalí met Gala, "the Gradiva of his life" and, for the occasion, the Dalí Universe wishes to celebrate #DaliandGala by sharing with you the most beautiful lines that the artist dedicated to his wife and muse Gala, taken from the "Diary of a Genius", which the Catalan artist wrote in 1963.

Alongside the most famous quotes on the relationship between Dalí and Gala, the Dalí Universe has selected some of the most significant photographs that have captured the most famous surrealist couple in the world, which, even today, dominate the spaces of world exhibitions with their expressive power, and continue to attract the attention of an ever growing audience, thus ensuring their



Follow us on our social media channels! This month of August 2019 we invite you to look at the photographs we have chosen to celebrate #DaliandGala anniversary with you!



I am the unique genius who has had the unique fortune to be married to the genius Gala, the unique mythological woman of our time”.

My superman was destined to be nothing less than a woman, the superwoman Gala”.

I polished Gala to make her shine, making her as happy as possible, taking even better care of her than of myself, for without her all would be finished”.

Gala is sitting in the prow of her boat which is painted Neapolitan yellow. This is the day I think she is more beautiful than at any time in my life. I kneel down to thank God that Gala is as beautiful a creature as those of Raphael. This beauty, I swear, is impossible to perceive, and nobody has been able to behold it as vitally as I, thanks to my previous ecstasies over my rhinoceros horns”.

Gala has been for me the most visible falling star, the most clearly outlined and the most finite!

Gala and Dalí alone are disguised by an already indestructible mythology. Gala and I incarnate the sublime myth of the Dioscuri, hatched from one of Leda’s two divine eggs”.

While on my knees, I perceive through the window Gala’s yellow boat arriving at the jetty. I go out and run down to embrace my treasure. It is God, too, who sends her to me. She looks more than ever like the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lion. And never have I felt so much like eating her”.

The birthmark of Gala’s is the only living part of her body that I can completely envelop with my two fingers. It reassures me in an irrational way as to her phoenixological immortality. And I love her more than my mother, more than my father, more than Picasso, and even more than money!

The most important things that can happen to a contemporary painter are: to be a Spaniard and to be called Gala Salvador Dalí. These two things have happened to me. I am called Dalí, which means ‹desire› in Catalan, and I have Gala”.

The paranoiac critical method functions only on condition that it possesses a soft motor of divine origin, a living nucleus, a Gala – and there is only one Gala”.





Diary of a Genius, Salvador Dalí, 1963.

The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí, Salvador Dalí, 1942.