It was in a 1922 Madrid that Salvador Dali joined the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in San Fernando and began his career as an artist, who, in the future, would be consecrated as one of the main painters surrealists. The results of this career, many know, Dalí is still successful today with his works of unusual graphic combinations, however, part of his history – personal, but which influenced his art – has been in the dark for a long time.
There, at the same academy, Dalí met Federico García Lorca, a Spanish surrealist poet, lyricist and playwright, establishing a relationship that would shape their career. At the beginning of the friendship, Lorca was enchanted by Dalí’s unconventional style, while the painter said that Lorca was a “poetic phenomenon in its entirety”.
From 1925 to 1927, the relationship intensified, growing with the admiration and influence that one had over the other, including in their work. Dalí represented Lorca in his works and collaborated in the construction of the play, written by Garcia Lorca. The poet, in turn, wrote the poem published in 1927, which gathers praise for both art and the person of Dalí.
This relationship was so emblematic during this period, that it was called “Lorca Period” by Santos Torroella, a student of the work of Salvador Dalí, a specialist in this period of life and the work of the painter. From 1928, there was a certain distance between the two, marked by turbulence caused by the partnership between Dalí and Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel, in addition to other complications in their personal lives. However, together or apart, it was later realized that this relationship has never, in fact, ceased to be part of the lives of artists.
The two were identified by the media and history as friends and partner artists, as they often worked together on creations of the Surrealist movement. Until, in 2013, a compilation of love letters exchanged by artists in the period between 1923 and 1936 was published in the book, by journalist Víctor Fernández, and raised the question of whether it was just a friendship.
“You are a Christian storm that needs my paganism. I will give you the cure for the sea. It will be winter and we will light the fire ”, Dalí, in a letter to Lorca, summer 1928.
The lines recovered by Fernández say a lot about a long relationship of ups and downs, but, above all, they represent “an erotic and tragic love, due to the fact that I cannot share it”, as Salvador Dalí himself portrayed in 1986. The letters displayed in the compilation, despite illustrating this relationship with all its complexity, are not all. That’s because many disappeared over time.
Especially Lorca’s letters to Dalí were lost, and the journalist explains that the reason involves two women: Ana Maria Dalí, Salvador’s sister, who sold the painter’s personal files after the Spanish Civil War, and Gala, Dalí’s wife and muse. , who destroyed many out of jealousy. Subsequently, it was discovered that Lorca was not a welcome subject at the couple’s home, while, on the other hand, a note written “I don’t like Gala” was found in García Lorca’s documents.
Correspondence, according to Fernández, is a “game of seduction: Lorca does her best, using her words to try to win over Dalí, who, on the other hand, wants to be on the same intellectual level as the poet. One is trying to capture the artist in his spider web, and the other is letting it happen, to a certain extent ”.
The sudden end
It would be illusory to disentangle the history of two such emblematic artists from the 20th century to the political and cultural events that were contemporary with them. After all, they were part of the Spanish avant-garde, in addition to that García Lorca was openly homosexual, a factor that made him reprehensible to conservatives, represented by fascist paramilitary groups that were gaining strength in a scenario of the rise of the Civil War.
Thus, in August 1936, Federico García Lorca was arrested for two days and, shortly thereafter, shot to death by a fascist militia. The right reasons for this brutality are still unclear, since Lorca was considered apolitical by many of his companions. In life, the poet avoided attaching himself to flags, although he had already demonstrated democratic tendencies.
The murder caused the revolt of many around the world, but, specifically for Salvador Dalí, it brought about a sense of guilt. The painter confessed that he regretted not having insisted enough for Lorca to accompany him to Italy. In his, Salvador Dalí comments on the news: “shot by mistake. The Spanish chaos upset me and the monsters of the civil war invaded my screens ”.
After his death, Lorca started to be represented again in Dalí’s paintings. In addition to the paintings, the painter quoted him in his book and intervened in the work of Lorca historian Ian Gibson, accusing him of underestimating their relationship.
In the last years of Dalí’s life, exclusively after the death of his wife Gala, the painter returned mentally to the period when he met Lorca and Buñuel, at the Academy of Fine Arts, living in student residences with new artist friends. In the end, when he refused to eat and weighed only 34kg, one of his caregivers said that, during all the time she spent with him, her only words she could understand were “my friend, Lorca”.
Regarding the masked relationship of the artists, the PhD in Art History from the University of Granada, Spain and Professor of Art History at the Federal Technological University of Paraná, Angela Brandão, says in one of her articles: “Perhaps one of the most true faces of Dalí is the character of the person who maintains contact with Lorca, not yet the Lacanian or the surrealist Dalí, and not yet the Dalí of Paris and New York – his sets, not even the Dalí de Gala – his interlocutor. ”.