Salvador Dalí comes back home to Contemporary Art Museum Reina Sofia in Madrid, with the biggest show ever after opening at the Pompidou Center in Paris . Formidable Magazine crelebrates this event puting together a massive collection of photographs as outrageous, scandalous and politically incorrect as Dalí himself. Scroll down at your own risk…

Also see our two newest pieces on Dalí here and here.



Salvador Dalí spent considerable time in New York in the 1930s, cultivating an audience and a market. These efforts culminated at the 1939 World’s Fair in a giant Surrealist folly containing a grotto with erotic all-female tableaux vivants, some of them staged underwater. His pavilion, the Dream of Venus, was an astonishing realization of what Dalí had termed the “terrifying and edible beauty” of surrealist architecture, then unprecedented on American shores. Entered through a spread-leg archway, it contained such features as a ceiling of inverted umbrellas and a new version of the artist’s famous Rainy Taxi (1938). Its bulbous, writhing façade, riven with holes and cracks, opposed the polished, streamlined Art Deco architecture of the national and corporate pavilions of the fair’s optimistic ‘World of Tomorrow.’


Salvador Dali Dream of Venus

dream of venus


When sponsors objected the semi-naked models, he wrote his Declaration of the Independence of the Imagination and the Rights of Man to His Own Madness, copies of which were showered over the city by aeroplanes as a full-scale public protest.

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Salvador Dali's Dream of Venus 1939 by Murray Korman_Dali_10_formidablemag

dali-Dream of Venus Pavilion-1939

With his characteristic penchant for violating taboos. The framework of the dream justified Dalí’s use of live nudes and bizarre imagery. Dalí wanted to emphasize the mind’s ability to form associations between apparently unrelated images and ideas, and therefore make meaning out of them.

_Dali_15_formidablemag_ World’s Fair Salvador Dalí’s pavilion, Dream of Venus Read more

World’s Fair Salvador Dalí’s pavilion, Dream of Venus.

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Undervater scene.

SALVADOR DALI'S 'DREAM OF VENUS" Underwater Living Liquid Ladies

Bed of Venus, 1939 Salvador Dali's Worlds Fair Pavilion

Salvador Dali's Dream of Venus- The Surrealist Funhouse


With his wife Gala posing with a taxi cab with a fish through the window, in one of the pavilion sets.


in bed, projecting pieces of dirty paper “to stimulate his inspiration”’

Photographer Philippe Halsman collaborated with Salvador Dali for years that resulted in shots like the famous Atomicus, where Dali and his surroundings (including three cats) are suspended in mid air. This intimate, behind the scenes photo of Dali “at work” in bed, projecting pieces of dirty paper “to stimulate his inspiration.” St Regis hotel where Dali often resided in New York, 1964.


USA. 1948. Salvador DALI, Spanish painter. "Dali-Atomicus."

Spanish Surrealist Painter Salvador Dali. USA, New York City, 1951. (Photo by Philippe Halsman)

USA. 1949. Salvador DALI, Spanish painter. "Popcorn Nude" variant.

1943. Salvador Dali.

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Philippe Halsman USA. 1944. Salvadore DALI. "Midsummer's Night Mare

“Midsummer’s Night Mare” set design, 1944.



In 1951, once again, Dali teamed up with Magnum photographer Philippe Halsman to create one of the most enchanting, morbid and bizarre photographs of all time. Entitled “In Voluptas Mors,” or Voluptuous Death.

USA. New York City. 1951. Salvador Dali's "In Voluptate Mors." Philippe HALSMAN arranging the models.

USA. New York City. 1951. Philippe HALSMAN making Salvador DALI's "In Voluptate Mors."


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Salvador Dali loved the Marx Brothers. He loved their madcap, anarchic comedy. In particular he loved Harpo Marx—the blonde corkscrew-haired comic mime whose visual comedy—unlike the quick witty repartee of his brother Groucho—was universal and needed no translation. Salvador described Harpo as one of America’s three great Surrealists—the other two being Walt Disney and Cecil B. DeMille.

The pair first met at a party in Paris in 1936. Dali told Harpo how much he loved his films—in particular Animal Crackers which he described as “the summit of the evolution of comic cinema.” He gushed over Harpo’s performance where he pulled fish and cutlery from his pocket and shot the hats of beautiful women—this was true Surrealism! Understandably, the two men became friends.


Mad Isolde. Nude in front of Salvador Dali’s set design for Mad Trista, 1944. Dali painted the 9m-by-15m backdrop for the 1944 ballet production Le Tristan fou (Mad Tristan), which was inspired by the classic tale Tristan und Isolde.

Mad Isolde (Nude in front of Salvador Dali's set design for Mad Tristan), 1944

Salvador DALI. Spanish painter.

salvador dali y gala 1936


USA. 1943. Salvadore DALI's "Head on a Table."


Salvador Dali was approached by Disney himself in 1945 to propose a collaborative film.

ward kimball with salvador dali on walt disney's carolwood pacific railroad

Disney’s sudden turn to surrealism was an attempt to silence several of his critics who felt that his films sacrificed genuine artistry at the altar of marketability—favoring tradition and safety over innovation and experimentation.


The evocative Fantasia, released in 1940, had been a groundbreaking first step on this front, and the animator now hoped that Destino would keep this newfound momentum going.


The artists’ little-known lovechild is half “Fantasia,” half “The Persistence of Memory,” as nightmarish images made from animation, live dancers and special effects flow in and out of frame.


Dalí described the plot of the piece: “A magical display of the problem of life in the labyrinth of time.” Walt Disney, appropriately enough, preferred a different synopsis: “A simple story about a young girl in search of true love.”


But alas, the project died in infancy and Disney pulled the plug on the film after its third month of production. Though he would remain lifelong friends with Dali afterwards.


Nothing remains of their short-lived joint venture but a 15-second demo reel and a handful of rudimentary sketches.


1950's Salvador Dali

Paris 1953, on a carriage drawn by his goat. Once In search of inspiration, he would demand and entire herd of goats to be delivered to his hotel, Le Meurice. He would then shoot them with plastic bullets.

dali pets a goat


USA. New York. 1960. Making of "Chaos and Creation."

USA. New York. 1960. Making of "Chaos and Creation."

USA. New York. 1960. Making of "Chaos and Creation."

Chaos and Creation, a collaboration film by Halsman and Dali.

Shooting Art

In the Ed Sulivan show. Dalí demonstrates a new painting technique by firing a pistol loaded with a paint-filled capsule at a large canvas. January 29, 1961. He pointed at the canvas and shot at it several times. The colors exploted on the canvas creating a painting in font of the audience.



dali hairdo


SALVADOR DALI painting ‘he Temptation of Saint Anthony

Painting ‘The Temptation of Saint Anthony’. Dalí painted did this piece in 1946, in response to a contest held by the David L. Loew-Albert Lewin film production company for a painting of The Temptation of Saint Anthony, to be used in the film The Private Affairs of Bel Ami. This was the only art contest in which Dalí participated, and ultimately his painting was not chosen for the film.