Salvador Dali is perhaps the most famous surrealist painter of all time, painting crazy pictures, and just being an eccentric person overall. There are tons of stories of him and his crazy antics, all of which only served to increase the mystique surrounding him and his crazy paintings.
Dali never paid his restaurant bills
Salvador Dali wasn’t only known for his paintings and drawings, but also for his stinginess. In his later years when he was already internationally renowned, Dali was able to get by on never paying the bill at a restaurant!
It wasn’t that he so famous that people would just give him free meals though. Any time Dali got a restaurant check, he would scribble a one of a kind doodle on the check. He knew that should the restaurant sell his doodle, they would make more than the cost of the meal. It was a win-win situation – the restaurant would have a one of a kind Dali work, and Dali got free food.
He had ingenious ways to come up with ideas
Dali never used mind altering substances to come up with his paintings. Instead, he would sit in a chair holding a metal spoon with a metal plate on the ground. As he was in the period between sleep and wake – when people usually have the weirdest visions – he would drop the spoon which landed on the plate with a loud CLANG. He would then immediately get up and paint whatever he saw in his vision!
Another technique he had was to stand on his head until so much blood rushed to his head that he passed out. He would then wake up and draw the visions his blood flooded brain produced.
Dali’s secretaries were millionaires
Known for being a cheapskate, Dali tried to get as much done as possible without taking money out of his own pocket. However, being a world famous artist required a lot of help, including many secretaries to help manage his busy schedule.
However, he never paid them a salary. But what he did instead was, in a roundabout way, have other people pay them! He ensured that any time one of his paintings or prints sold, his secretaries would get a commission on the sale. Seeing that just a mere print of one of his paintings can fetch thousands of dollars, his secretaries ended up becoming millionaires later in life.
He was obsessed with cauliflowers
Cauliflowers – otherwise known as “broccoli which just didn’t try hard enough” – were an obsession of Dali’s. He once famously told an audience of 2,000 spectators that “everything ends up in the cauliflower!” In fact, when he was driving from his home in Spain to give a speech at the Sorbonne in Paris, France, he brought over a half ton of the vegetable with him in a white Rolls Royce Phantom! But because people always expected the unexpected with Dali, everyone just kind of rolled with it.
One day American artist Mike Wallace asked him about his cauliflower obsession. Dali’s response – he was infatuated with their “logarithmic curve.”
He sold Yoko Ono a blade of grass
One of Salvador Dali’s most defining features was his crazy, waxed, long pencil mustache. It was one of his trademarks from his early 20’s all the way until his death. Even though it would have looked crazy on anyone else, it seemed to work for Dali (perhaps because he was so eccentric!).
One day, Yoko Ono asked Salvador Dali for a strand of his mustache hair. Dali, being the prankster and cheapskate that he was, offered to sell it to her for $10,000 (nearly $78,000 today). But instead of plucking out one of his own hairs and giving it to her, Dali found a dried up piece of grass, plucked it from the earth, put it in a bottle, and sent it to her! His reason – Dali didn’t want Yoko to use it for sorcery!