Dalí and his Spanish Influencers

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Friday, 2017, February 10

Dalí was influenced by many artists and cultural figures during his prolific career, one of who was Federico Garcia Lorca.  It was eighty years ago in 1937, that Lorca was assassinated by the opposition during the Spanish Civil War.

Born near Granada in Spain, in 1898 the poet and dramatist Federico García Lorca joined a group of avant-garde artists that included Salvador  Dalí  and Luis Buñuel during the twenties. The group, collectively known as the “Generation of ’27,” introduced Lorca to Surrealism, a movement that would greatly influence his writing. 

With the publication of his poetry collection Romancero Gitano, or Gypsy Ballads (1928), Lorca received the attention of critics which was to drive him on the path the success.

Lorca was Dalí ‘s far most important friend and influencer at this time in his career; their friendship lasted until Lorca’s death in 1936.  During 1925 and 1926 Lorca was a constant visitor to the  Dalí ‘s household. Enthralled by the Cadaques landscape and by Dalí himself, Lorca used some of Dalí ‘s extravagant language in his own work.’ ‘O Salvador Dali of the olive colored voice’ / I sing your astronomical and tender heart like a French deck of cards ‘, he wrote in 1926.

In 1927, Dalí designed the scenery for Lorca’s first lyrical drama Mariana Pineda. Lorca arranged a production of the play in Barcelona. Many of Dalí ‘s cubist paintings from 1925-1927 contain portraits of Lorca, sometimes the images of the two artists are merged.

One of Dalí ‘s most iconic paintings The Great Masturbator ( 1929) contains truncated heads which can also be seen in his 1926 painting, Fish and Balcony, Still Life by Moonlight,  in which the features of Lorca and Dalí are blended. From 1927 onwards Dalí aligns himself with the Surrealists and begins to distance himself from Lorca and his ideas.

The tumultuous relationship between Dalí and Lorca is documented in the 2008 film Little Ashes directed by Paul Morrison.