Dalí and Advertising

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Monday, 2016, November 28

Dalí was fascinated with the commercial, and advertising was just one of the areas of the media he tapped into. The master of Surrealism was a shrewd businessman, he knew his image worked, he worked his image, and used it to generate the millions of dollars in income. His wife and business manager Gala was equally avaricious, Dalí met her whilst she was still married to the poet Paul Eluard and they married in 1942.

Dalí and Gala, moved to the USA in 1936 and the move coincided with Dalí diversifying in an artistic sense; he began accepting commissions from advertisers and collaborated with department stores in New York. In 1939, while working on a window display for Bonwit Teller, he became so enraged by unauthorized changes to his work that he shoved a decorative bathtub through a plate glass window.

In 1968, Dalí filmed a humorous television advertisement for the French cholatier ‘ Lanvin’. In this, he proclaims in French "Je suis fou du chocolat Lanvin!" ("I'm crazy about Lanvin chocolate!") whilst biting a morsel, causing him to become cross-eyed and his moustache to swivel upwards.

Dalí designed the Chupa Chups logo in 1969. He was having a coffee with the Lollipops’ company director Enric Bernat, and Dalí started doodling names; it was then the logo was created. Bernat had hired an agency to rename the lollipop, but after the fortuitous meeting with Dalí, the logo came to life and is now one of the most recognizable confectionary brand logo’s in the world.

 Dalí appeared in television adverts for a number of companies, incuding Alka Seltzer and Veterano Brandy. According to his biographer Meryle Secrest, Dalì’s minimum request for a minute of film was $10,000. The artists’ love of money is legendary, Andre’ Breton gave him the nickname ‘Avida Dollars’ which was an anagram of his name. Taken from the French ‘avide a dollars’, it translates as ‘eager for dollars.’

During his eight years of exile in the States, that coincided with the second world war, Dalí worked prolifically in a variety of media, designing jewelry, clothes, furniture, stage sets for plays and ballet, and department  store display windows.  

Dalí worked in variety of mediums, painting, sculpture, film, graphics, and advertising;  for him it was just another outlet for his artistic genius and of course an excellent source of income to satisfy his greed for dollars.