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Those familiar with Salvador Dalí's contradictory nature as well as his propensity to mask his own thoughts will not be surprised to learn that, publicly, he despised music, though obviously that was not the case at all. In fact, many witnesses say – Amanda Lear, for one – he was actually quite musical and, time and again, he could be caught off guard singing or humming Catalan folk songs, sardanas, zarzuelas, and cuplés – all folksy, kitschy, and, by most accounts, tacky popular songs. Dalí, however, went to a great length to conceal this spontaneous love for the simple, uncomplicated folk and popular music of his rural Catalan upbringing. Indeed, his many misadventures in the field of music could be seen as attempts to obscure the persistence of his musical memory.


This work was originally published in Music in Art, available at

It was the essay accompanying the exhibition Salvador Dalí: Dream of Venus. Queens Museum of Art, New York (22 June to 28 September 2003).



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