I made up the quote there, but it's the kind of positioning statement I can imagine Dali proclaiming about himself. One part eccentric, two parts madman, and one part unabashed Capitalist make up the character of the man whose name and fame exploded beyond the confines of the esoteric and staid art culture. Like Warhol who came ofter him, he was audacious, and made his persona as much of a work of art as the works themselves.
Originally from Spain, Dali went to Paris to join the Surrealist movement in the 1930's. At the time, the leading writers and artists were taken in by Marxist idealism, which put Dali at odds with the group who ultimately expelled him. He came to the U.S. in 1940.
His melting watches may be his most famous image ("The Persistence of Memory, Museum of Modern Art) but the familiar Dali iconography that spilled into the mainstream includes religious symbols, eroticism, surreal landscapes, wizard-like eyeball-bending mind games, and scientific themes. As technology advanced, he often incorporated his trademark symbols into the new media, as with his experiments with holograms and video.