Salvador Dalí was born on May 11, 1904, in Figueres, Spain. From an early age, Dalí was encouraged to practice his art and would eventually go on to study at an academy in Madrid. In the 1920s, he went to Paris and began interacting with artists such as Picasso, Magritte and Miró, which led to Dalí’s first Surrealist phase. He is perhaps best known for his 1931 painting The Persistence of Memory, showing melting clocks in a landscape setting. The rise of fascist leader Francisco Franco in Spain led to the artist’s expulsion from the Surrealist movement, but that didn’t stop him from painting. Dalí died in Figueres in 1989.
In 2011, The Dali became the most expensive Surrealist lot sold at auction, with its 13.5 million-pound price stirring interest in the Spanish artist and breaking the record for his work, set 24 hours earlier at Christie’s International.
Dali’s 1929 portrait of the poet Paul Eluard — husband of the painter’s future companion and model, Gala — had been valued at 3.5 million pounds to 5 million pounds. It beat the 4.1 million pounds paid on Feb. 9 at Christie’s for another work from the 1920s, bought by the Fundacio Gala-Salvador Dali based in Figueres, Spain, where Dali was born.