Monumental works such as the Persistence of Memory, with the melting clocks, helped Dalí emerge as the leader of the Surrealist movement. But in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil war, an apolitical Dalí clashed with the predominantly Marxist Surrealist group and was expelled from the collective. The Surrealists henceforth would speak of Dalí in the past tense.
In the 1940´s, Dalí and Gala moved to New York City which proved to be a very important time for the artist. He moved into a new style that eventually became known as his “classic” period, demonstrating a preoccupation with science and religion. The Museum of Modern Art in New York gave him his first major retrospective exhibit in 1941. He quickly became the darling of New York high society and fed his eccentric persona by continually appearing in public in strange costumes, including a diving suit.
Dalí retuned to Spain in 1955 and oversaw the construction of his museum in Figueras. After the death of Gala in 1982, Dalí became increasingly reclusive and died in his home in 1989.
As an artist, Salvador Dalí was not limited to a particular style or media. The body of his work, from early impressionist paintings through his transitional surrealist works, and into his classical period, reveals a constantly growing and evolving artist. Dalí worked in all media, leaving behind a wealth of oils, watercolors, drawings, graphics, and sculptures, jewels and objects of all descriptions. Above all, his unique personality and abundant creativity has earned him an indelible place in art history.