Barcelona blood in the veins of Dalí

Culture. Published by Barcelona City Council and written by Ricard Mas, ‘Dalí i Barcelona’ looks at the artist’s relationship with the city, with numerous new insights.

'Dalí i Barcelona' is a new book published by Barcelona City Council, the product of two years of research by the historian and art critic Ricard Mas. Based on various personal accounts and material, the book offers an insight into the artist’s intense relationship with the city.

It’s nearly forty years since Salvador Dalí set foot in the streets of Barcelona, but his relationship with Barcelona covers a period of over eighty years: from his first visits to the Park Güell around the age of four or five, to his stay in the Quirón hospital in December 1988, almost two months before his death.

The work is divided into twelve chapters and an epilogue, each dealing with a different facet of the artist.

The first six chapters are more analytical, synthesising and reviewing the artistic work of Dalí, such as his exhibitions, speeches, family origins, relationship with Federico García Lorca and his attitude towards modernista work, particularly that of Antoni Gaudí. The second half is more about his life, with six chapters covering his experiences and relationships with various sectors of Barcelona society: the world of shows, the art ecosystem, commerce and restaurants, healthcare and the microcosm of the Hotel Ritz.

50 accounts of Dalí

To produce this study, Ricard Mas interviewed around fifty witnesses to Dalí’s activities in Barcelona. Those interviewed included the stylist Lluís Llongueras, the singer Maruja Garrido, the chauffeur Blai Matons, the neurologist Manuel Subirana, the helicopter pilot Josep Soler-Roig, the madame Sra. Rius, the sculptor Xavier Corberó, the daughters of the painter Isidor Beà, the editor Eduard Fornés, the painter Emilio Machado, the restaurant owner José Monje and the antiques dealer Artur Ramon, as well as Dalí’s relatives Felip Domènech, Eulàlia Bas Dalí, Maria Teresa and Fèlix Serraclara.

According to Ricard Mas, “not much has been written about the relationship between the artist and the city, but Dalí had Barcelona blood”. Specifically, the artist’s mother, Felipa Domènech, was born in El Call in Barcelona. His father, Salvador Dalí Cusí, and his uncle, Rafael Dalí, were both born in Cadaques but actually raised in Barcelona.

The young painter presented his first individual exhibitions in Barcelona. He also returned every time he wanted to show off and revel in his achievements. Portlligat is where his genius was incubated. Figueres, his town of birth, museum and mausoleum. Paris, New York and Barcelona, his showcases.

The multidisciplinary artist Jesús Galdón was responsible for the design and visual concept of the volume.