I were in our early Twenties, it was in about 1976, when we watched a television documentary about the Spanish painter Salvador Dali and his wife "Gala". Although having had been admirers of the painter's genial artwork for a long time, we were surprised to learn some aspects of their life together which we hadn't known before. We wanted to learn more.
Young people today enjoy the advantage of having masses of information available from the Internet but the two of us back then had to go to a book store to buy ourselves another book on the subject. The book we bought was talking about how much his wife Gala contributed to the "DALI brand" as it would be called in modern words. She had to offer what he wanted and needed in a woman. She was his MUSE, manager, model, confidante.
Gala was actually a Russian from Kazan and 10 years older than him. The fact that the couple was rooted in two different nations and had very different backgrounds adds another very interesting flavour to their lovestory. They both were not particularly young when they married. He was 30 years old, she was already 40, an age in which a woman in that time had to be a mindblowing beauty or the mother of his children to be prestigious for a rich and successful man like Salvador. Propably many a psychologist or journalist were betting on such a marriage to end fast in certain divorce. Nevertheless Salvador and Gala made it to a very long marriage of 48 years (1934 to 1982) which ended only with Gala's death at the old age of 88 years.
Young artlovers of the 1970s and 1980s like us were big fans of Salvador Dali, although over time there were a lot of disturbing newspaper stories about Salvador and Gala. Excentric behavior by Dali in public produced excentric press coverage. Propably they just knew what it takes to be real celebrities. But true fans stand by their idols.
Finally in 1990 while holidaying in Spain with our children, we went to Figueres to show us and them the Dali Museum. Salvador and Gala were long gone by that time but we still felt their auras present around us there and in Cadaques where they used to own a villa.
Artists need their MUSES
- no doubt.