Salvador Dali is one of my favorite painters and his compositions stand out as ingenious and highly imaginative. Of course, he also stood out as one of the more flamboyant and downright bizarre personalities of his day. Here are some of my favorite stories about this eccentric and supremely talented artist.
Dali and the Ocelot
Dali once took his pet ocelot (yes, he had a pet ocelot!) with him to a restaurant in Manhattan and tied it up to a leg of his table while he ordered coffee. A lady walked past and looked at the animal with a mixture of shock and horror. “What’s that?” she exclaimed. “It’s only a cat,” replied Dali. “I’ve painted it over with an op-art design.” The woman, who was embarrassed by her earlier reaction, took a closer look and let out a small sigh of relief. “I can see now that’s what it is,” she said. “At first I thought it was a real ocelot.”
Gift of the Dali
Dali went into a New York bookstore one day and asked for a copy of his Secret Life of Salvador Dali. The young clerk, instantly recognizing his distinguished customer, fetched the book and began to wrap it up.
“Have you read it?” asked the artist.
“No, I’m afraid not,” replied the young man, handing over the package.
“Take it,” said Dali magnanimously, pushing the book back across the counter. “It’ is my gift to you. Would you like me to autograph it for you?” The clerk eagerly tore open the package and handed the artist a pen.
Only after Dali had left the store did the young man, gazing at the treasured autograph, realize that the artist had omitted one important detail. He had neglected to pay for the book.