Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Shameful Life of Salvador Dalí” as Want to Read:
The Shameful Life of Salvador Dalí
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Shameful Life of Salvador Dalí

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  132 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Drawing on extensive original research and recently discovered sources, Ian Gibson presents a daringly original portrait of one of this century's most celebrated—and infamous—artists. He provides a full narrative of Dalí's life as artist and as uninhibited exhibitionist, from his wild and troubled youth through his often rollickingly funny adventures in Paris, New York, an ...more
Hardcover, 800 pages
Published November 17th 1998 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published November 3rd 1997)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Shameful Life of Salvador Dalí, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Shameful Life of Salvador Dalí

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mikey B.
Dec 22, 2014 Mikey B. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, art
“There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad.” Salvador Dali


To speak in today’s parlance – “this is one weird dude”. This is a marvelous tale capturing the eclectic Dali in all his manic ways.

With Dali everything was on the table; he was a living shock and awe.

Here are some of the titles of his paintings:

The Profanation of the Host
The Great Masturbator
Soft Construction with Boiled Beans
The Great Paranoiac
Young Virgin Auto-Sodomized by the H
What struck me was how misogynistic, biphobic and transphobic this book is. Gala, of course, presented as not more than a cruel, unlikable hag with dollar signs in her eyes (that already is a big tradition for Dali's biographies; what authors often forget to mention is that Dali himself was no less of a cruel, unlikable jerk with dollar signs in his eyes, so they were quite a couple); Dali's bisexuality, in really weird manner, gets both erased and overblown. No B-word is said, of course (again, ...more
 ~*~Princess Nhya~*~
Mar 13, 2010 ~*~Princess Nhya~*~ rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who loves these types of books
Recommended to ~*~Princess Nhya~*~ by: Robert Pattinson
So far this book is great.. I remember hearing a little bit about Salvador in High School but not much. I was always interested in him due to some of his work that I've seen.

Finished it!!! Salvador was certainly a character! But That's what made him beautiful. U can't love people in slices ya know?
Aug 02, 2008 Nicola rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm totally lying when I say I've read this book. I didn't: I read maybe half of it, skimmed some more and then gave up. It's REALLY LONG. Clearly a labour of love, Gibson has researched every aspect of Dali's life (wanna know about Dali's grandfather? good, 'cause that's in there!). However, unless you're an academic or vry srs reader, you'll probably find yourself yearning for a bit of précis.
Jul 22, 2016 Cris rated it it was ok
Shelves: bios
This book is ok if you are looking to connect the dots of the 19th century art and literary world (and have a strong stomach), however it could have been done tastefully in about half the pages. The analysis of the art is zilch, so don't look for any. The extended details of Dali's sexual obsessions were grossly unnecessary for Gibson's points. (Yes, Dali was afraid of sex. Next!) There are interesting conversations with his would-be lover, the poet Federico Lorca (who was smarter than Dali by a ...more
Aug 24, 2014 Rocio rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nadie sorprenderían realmente las extravagancias, rarezas y poco usuales aficiones de Salvador Dalí, crees que has leído lo habido y por haber de uno de tus pintores favoritos cuando llega Ian Gibson y zas!
Gibson presenta un Dalí retorcido, difícil, creativo hasta el extremo pero obsesionado con ir escalando posiciones en la sociedad española, francesa e incluso norteamericana. Un Dalí amante del dinero sin escrúpulos a veces y siempre cegado por un deseo sexual insaciable y frustrado, a menu
Gary Daly
Aug 25, 2014 Gary Daly rated it it was amazing
I'd been searching for a detailed biography of Salvador Dali on and off for years and finally stumbled on this one. I wanted to try and understand what made Dali tick as an artist and author Ian Gibson has done a masterful job in linking Dali's life and his art in a way that makes so much sense. While I can't say I will ever truly understand Dali's art, I feel I have a far better understanding than before.
This book is impressively well researched and beautifully written. Despite it's length (and
Aida Ghazar
Feb 19, 2016 Aida Ghazar rated it it was amazing
It was very informative and interesting ,gave a profile idea about the painter and his era ,
unfortunately after commercializing himself Dali was nicknamed"Avida Dollar"I began to see his paintings and grasp their meanings more vividly,thanks to Ian Gibson,
Feb 12, 2008 Jessica rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
Excellent. Fascinating...a compulsive read. What a strange and brilliant artist! and how much Gala helped him reach the public.. .One cannot underestimate her role in his life and work.
Jul 24, 2008 Ohloraiadoreya rated it liked it
Recommends it for: biography fans
Totally in-depth review of the artist life from childhood through death. Very insightfull look at a hard-to-know artist.
Jackyv rated it liked it
Mar 02, 2014
Tdterrilldee rated it really liked it
May 27, 2012
Elda Kocks-de
Elda Kocks-de rated it it was amazing
Jun 26, 2012
Rudolfo rated it it was amazing
May 26, 2011
Grace rated it really liked it
Jul 13, 2010
Cathy rated it it was amazing
Oct 17, 2010
J G rated it really liked it
Jul 04, 2015
Heather Baird
Heather Baird rated it really liked it
Feb 02, 2014
Dale Houstman
Dale Houstman rated it it was amazing
Jun 04, 2013
Paul Cummings
Paul Cummings rated it really liked it
Apr 12, 2011
Ignasi Boix
Ignasi Boix rated it really liked it
Jan 13, 2014
Michael Rosenbaum
Michael Rosenbaum rated it liked it
Mar 10, 2015
Kimberly Lyons
Kimberly Lyons rated it liked it
May 04, 2013
Dave Edwards
Dave Edwards rated it it was amazing
Apr 11, 2010
Jacqueline rated it really liked it
Dec 27, 2014
Sara Sami
Sara Sami rated it liked it
Feb 17, 2016
Candice rated it it was amazing
Aug 13, 2008
Pedro Cabiya
Pedro Cabiya rated it it was amazing
Aug 31, 2015
Don rated it it was amazing
Jan 08, 2012
Hope rated it liked it
Aug 09, 2008
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Picasso: Creator And Destroyer
  • The Writings of Marcel Duchamp
  • Marcel Proust: A Life
  • Surrealism and Painting
  • Walt Whitman: A Life
  • Selected Writings
  • Hieronymus Bosch
  • Full Bloom: The Art and Life of Georgia O'Keeffe
  • 50 Secrets of Magic Craftsmanship
  • Self Portrait
  • Conceptual Art (Phaidon Art and Ideas)
  • The Hundred Headless Woman
  • The Nightmare of Reason: A Life of Franz Kafka
  • Ralph Ellison: A Biography
  • Dali & I: The Surreal Story
  • Holy Terror: Andy Warhol Close Up
  • Das Augenspiel. Lebensgeschichte 1931-37
  • Flight Out of Time: A Dada Diary
Ian Gibson (born 21 April 1939) is an Irish author and Hispanist known for his biographies of Antonio Machado, Salvador Dalí, Henry Spencer Ashbee, and particularly his work on Federico García Lorca, for which he won several awards, including the 1989 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography. His work, La represión nacionalista de Granada en 1936 y la muerte de Federico García Lorca (The nati ...more
More about Ian Gibson...

Share This Book