Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dali was born 11 May, 1904 in the small town of Figueras in the Province, Catalunya. His first name had previously been given to a boy who had died in infancy. He was often aware that he was the second Salvador. Three years later, a sister was born named Ana Maria. He was a difficult child and refused to conform to family or community customs.
Dali received private art lessons in Figueras, and later attended the Escuela Especial de Pintura, Escultura y Grabado de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid. He lived in the Residencia de Estudiantes, where he met other art students. He was expelled and reinstated, but never took the final examinations. Dali felt, with good reason, that he did not need the type of education the school offered.
Disowned by his father, Dali moved into a fisherman's shack in the small village of Port Lligat, two miles from Cadaques on the coast where the Pyrenees come down to the Mediterranean Sea, not far from the French border.
The most important person in his life was a Russian emigree living in Paris and married to the French poet, Paul Eluard, Dlena Diakonova, known as "Gala". She left Eluard for Dali, whom she married after the death of her husband. She saved Dali from a serious nervous disorientation and took charge of every aspect of his life: financial, artistic, and sexual. With her help, he became established in Paris as a notable painter. Dali joined the Dada and Surrealist group led by Andre Breton, but left the group a few years later to become a serious surrealist. As he became better known and more successful financially, he bought a number of fishermen's shacks adjacent to his original one and made them into an extensive house,