Art: The Two Faces Of Dali

Both The Young Genius And The Lying Old Fanatic Are On Display In A New Show

The Shameful Life of Salvador Dali--such was the title given to the 1997 book by Dali's most formidable biographer, Ian Gibson. It's a perfect title, because it drives home two nails at once. First, lovers of modernism have long regarded Dali (1904-1989), the obsessive and boasting narcissist from Catalonia, as a sort of mock-deranged but authentically disgraceful relative. Few could doubt the power and originality of his early work--up to, say, the Spanish Civil War. Equally, few would give the least credence to the recycling of old themes that he did, mainly for the American market, in the 1940s and '50s,...

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