Spanish artist Salvador Dalí is widely considered to be the central proponent of the movement of Surrealism. After being expelled from the San Fernando Academy of Art in Madrid for refusing to be examined in relation to traditional art practices, Dalí travelled to Paris and was introduced to the founder of Surrealism, writer André Breton. Upon his return to Spain, Dalí’s subject-matter became increasingly bizarre and fantastical.

Dalí’s dreamlike compositions combined hyper-realistic painterly techniques that manipulated and mutated everyday objects. His most recognisable subject matter, the melting watch, first appeared in his painting The Persistence of Memory in 1931. This imagery, along with a handful of other oddities such as obelisks atop elephants with spindly legs, riddle his artworks with symbolism and add to the allure of his art and personality.

After fleeing to New York as a result of the Second World War, Dalí became increasingly more commercial, collaborating with many well-known brands such as Coca-Cola, Chupa Chups and Datsun. Both his artwork and advertisements were highly celebrated by the American art world. He later went on to collaborate with several filmmakers such as Walt Disney and Alfred Hitchcock.

Today, Dalí is heralded as one of the most important and innovative artists of the twentieth century.