Salvador Dalí was born in Figueras on 11 May 1904. He commenced his studies at the School of Fine Arts, Madrid, in 1921, where he met the poet Federico Garcia Lorca and the filmmaker Luis Buñuel. In 1923 he was suspended from the school for subversive behaviour, and was finally expelled in 1926. He owed little to his professors at the School in any case and vigorously promoted the notion that he had been born a prodigy. His first solo exhibition was held in 1925 at the Dalmau Gallery, Barcelona, and his first in Paris was at the Galerie Camille Goemans in 1929. Dalí worked with Buñuel on the film Un Chien andalou (1929), perhaps the earliest and most celebrated Surrealist film. The same year he met many of the Surrealist artists and was officially accepted into the movement, bringing with him a talent for notoriety.
His first exhibition in New York, at the Julian Levy Gallery in 1932, was an immediate success, and Dalí courted the public with a flamboyance that was to characterise the rest of his career. In 1935 he entered into an agreement with Edward James, the English writer and collector, to purchase many of his works. Like many of the avant-garde artists, Dalí fled Europe for the United States of America in 1940, returning eventually in 1948. Dalí's career continued to flirt with scandal, making him one of the few modern artists known to the general public. In old age, his 'bad boy' image institutionalised, he received retrospective exhibitions, honours, dedicated museums to house his work, and was even elected to the Academie des Beaux-Arts, Paris. Dalí died in Figueres on 25 January 1989.