More unpublished declarations of Anna Maria Dalí about the prolonged conflict that the artist had with his father.

This excerpt corresponds to the unpublished diaries of art critic, poet and translator Rafael Santos Torroella (Portbou, 1914-Barcelona, 2002).

From left to right: Don Salvador Dalí, Eulàlia Bas Dalí and Anna Maria Dalí. Eulàlia Bas Dalí Archive.

Cadaqués, 31 August 1985. Yesterday during the whole of the late afternoon, from 6pm to 9pm, with Anna Maria Dalí in her house in Llané. Anna Maria reminds me of things. The family drama or tragedy had three phases:

1st. 1929. When Gala and Éluard came to Cadaqués. René Magritte and his wife Georgette were also there and together with Camille and Ivonne Goemans they stayed in one of the houses in the village, whose owner (known by them as “la vieille sorcière”) lived on the ground floor. (I seem to remember Anna Maria telling me that the house was the same as the one the Romero’s had spent their summers for years; that meant that they were a long way from the others, both the Éluards and the Dalís, suggesting that they there was no great friendship between them). Éluard and Gala were in the Hotel Cap de Creus. “Georgette Magritte –Anna Maria tells me– cried the whole time” and talking of the other surrealists (Gala, Éluard, Buñuel) she had nothing more to say than: “ils sont méchants, sont méchants…”

In December of that year “around about Christmas time” was when the father demanded of Dalí a public retraction for the exhibition in the Goemans Gallery in November and when Salvador was not forthcoming in that respect he was thrown out of the house.

2nd. 1934-35. Through his uncle Rafael (who the nephews referred to as “El Galeno”), Salvador asked his father for forgiveness. They travelled together from Barcelona to Figueres. The scene in the Dalí house in Figueres was told to me by Montserrat Dalí. The two brothers Salvador, father, the notary public, and Rafael, the doctor, both as stubborn and dramatic as the other, fought tooth and nail. Meanwhile, Salvador junior was in the hallway, crying and threatening suicide if his father did not forgive him. In the end Don Salvador relented…”. But all those people –Anna Maria tells me her father said, referring to the surrealists– need not even think about even walking in front of the house!”.

Salvador junior told his father that he was unable to make a public rectification because it was impossible for him to leave the surrealist group.

They spat on the street when they passed Gala.

3rd. 1939. This was when they fled France in the event of the German invasion. Gala went to Lisbon. Salvador spent several days between Figueres and Cadaqués, while his father was organising the paperwork so that he would be subject to responsibilities as a result of the Civil War. Anna Maria also had to go to Girona to see the governor for the same reason. From Figueres they even tried to resolve the situation of both Gala and Salvador in Lisbon through a friend of the family, Maria Gorgot, whose husband, José María Genís, had business interests in Portugal in the cork industry. He managed to solve their problems, even as far as facilitating Gala and Salvador passage on the ship of some transatlantic company or other.

“The epilogue”. When in 1948 they returned from America, Salvador was insistent on living with gala in the house at Llané while the builders were working on their house in Portlligat, which was uninhabitable. “They thought – Anna Maria went on – that since we had done them so many favours, everything would be alright…”.  But that was not the case, and she confirmed to me the poor show that she and the auntie had displayed toward Gala, taking advantage of any small thing to show their disapproval. Montserrat had already spoken to me about this, saying that they even spat on the street when they walked past her – something that Anna Maria does not deny when I mention it.

That was when his father arranged the inheritance, so that Anna Maria would fare well and would not have to depend on her brother or the people around him.