Whether curled into a figure 8 or splayed like a cat’s whiskers, Dali’s moustache is arguably the world’s most famous facial hair. But when asked to explain why he styled it in such bizarre and seemingly comic fashion, the artist remarked that his moustache was “the most serious part” of his personality. In this book, Boris Friedewald tells the life story of the renowned Spanish Surrealist through the various moustache styles he had throughout his life. Dali cultivated his moustaches—he staged them and had them photographed. But these were more than mere vanity projects.
Dali’s evolving facial hair signifies certain points in the artist’s own metamorphosis and was a kind of antenna of his metaphysical inspiration. Illustrated with many intriguing photographs of the artist and his ever-changing moustache, this book describes how Dali cared for and styled his facial hair, and shows how it influenced many artists in his wake—from Ringo Starr to Lady Gaga. Filled with anecdotes and engaging commentary about Dali’s work, this book offers readers a fascinating new way of looking at the artist, his life, and his legacy.
BORIS FRIEDEWALD is an art historian, playwright, and the author of Bauhaus and Paul Klee: Life and Work (both by Prestel). He lives in Berlin.