Historical story

Her sexual fantasy has surpassed the artists. Was she the most liberated woman of her time?

The husband in one of the paintings presented her as the Virgin Mary. But she had little to do with the image. She was a strong, liberated woman with great fantasy, also erotic. And so she was remembered as the muse of many famous artists. And according to some - even a nymphomaniac.

"Everything about Gala was violent, exaggerated, crazy," writes Mary Ann Cows, one of Salvador Dalí's biographers, of his long-time wife.

The painter's chosen one did lead a life that shocked her contemporaries. She did things that only men were allowed to do in the eyes of the public of her time. Even today, a woman with a similar temperament would not have the best opinion…

It was already outrageous that in order to be in a relationship with Dalí, Gala abandoned her husband and daughter. This is why the marriage was opposed by Salvador's family, calling her without hesitation a "degenerate mother" or even a "harlot". Gala's disadvantage was also the fact that the husband from whom she left, the French poet, Paul Éluard, was Dali's friend. In addition, she was a decade older than her new lover.

These and similar prejudices must have meant little or nothing to Gala itself. Throughout her life, she eluded conventions, accepted customs and norms. Nothing was ordinary about her, and she wasn't going to limit herself. She followed the maxim that Carmen Domingo told her in her book "Gala Dalí" from her stepfather in her native Russia:be yourself ”.

Max Ernst lived for a long time in the house of Gala and her first husband, Paul Eluard. He moved in to help decorate it, stayed as a close friend and lover.

Husband, wife and everyone else

Jelena's first relationship was amazing (because that was Gala's real name). She met Éluard in 1913 in a sanatorium. They clung to each other very quickly and overcame all adversities to be together. Gala left Russia and moved to Paris. But even then, she did not resemble a harmonious, quiet wife. As Carmen Domingo describes, on the wedding night she surprised the groom:

He was expecting to spend the first night with a young, timid virgin, so he was surprised by the violence of their first intercourse, as well as the sexual ingenuity he found suspicious of debutants . That's why he accused her of learning these tricks from another man.

It soon turned out that marital fidelity did not suit either side of the relationship. So they allowed themselves the occasional side jump, as long as they told each other about all the affairs. For Paul, it was a source of additional excitement. He liked to watch Gala with other men. In fact, he was happy to share it. He even used to carry pictures of his naked wife in bold poses in his wallet. He willingly showed them to his interlocutors, which only strengthened the general desire with which she was surrounded in company.

How tolerant and open to various experiences the spouses were is evidenced by the fact that for several years one of Gala's lovers and Paul's close friend, Max Ernst, lived with the couple. She was the one who reportedly told him:"It looks like I too, though I didn't know it before, I am a woman of many men just like Paul a man of many women ”.

Artistic delight and sexual disappointment

It was similar with the second marriage of a Russian woman. Although she had love at first sight with Salvador, Gala did not hide from him numerous affairs with other men. Dalí accepted his wife's excesses and even listened to her stories about what she did in bed with other men. He himself would not have been able to fulfill his wife's fantasy, he was impotent. As Domingo writes, Gala realized at the beginning of their relationship that a relationship with a genius artist would be difficult:

Gala realized that she would be his muse forever, painted obsessively in a hundred different poses, but would never become his mistress. He was too put off by being physically, too much in his head the images of the effects of venereal diseases that his father had shown him to dare to touch her.

An additional flavor to Gala's romance with Max Ernst was added by the fact that her husband considered him his close friend. Both artists collaborated, for example, on the book "Répétitions", which includes illustrations by Ernst.

Indeed, the future spouses had completely different sexual temperaments. Dalí has ​​publicly declared himself a conservative. His painting "Madonna of Port Ligat", to which Gala posed, was blessed even by the Pope himself. Regardless of this, he also had peculiar erotic preferences. Admittedly, preferred to please himself but appreciated the company of beautiful women. Later in his life, he even arranged orgies in which he participated ... solely as an observer. The parties at the master probably outnumbered Berlusconi's famous parties .

Meanwhile, Gala surrounded herself with a wreath of lovers until the end of her life. It was not hiding anything. She even tried to tell journalists about her experiences, who, however, received her revelations with great indifference. This is how in the literary version of Carmen Domingo, Dali's wife complains about the lack of interest on the part of the press:

How could he not be interested in the erotic fantasies of a mature woman who could expose her body and use it much better than most young girls, and she was not ashamed of it? I knew perfectly well that I was attracted to men and I was able to take advantage of it.

Dali was Gala's most enduring (if not the greatest) love. Their relationship lasted more than half a century.

After many years together (their marriage lasted 53 years). Salvador, however, became less and less tolerant of his wife's numerous affairs. They spent a lot of time apart. She went to live in Púbol Castle. Salvador even had to ask for permission to visit her there. He was furious out of jealousy. Once he beat Gala so badly that he broke two of her ribs. Despite this, she did not decide to divorce. She hasn't given up on lovers either . She found a way to cool her husband's temper and began giving him valium and other sedatives.

Investments (in lovers)

Despite all the adversities, the relationship with one of the greatest painters of the 20th century turned out to be successful and happy. Gala took care of her husband's interests. She was not only his muse, she also supported his career development, she contacted the buyers of paintings and gallery owners. At the beginning of his career, she helped him arrange scholarships and collected orders for paintings. She was an enterprising and energetic woman, and her partner - a boisterous man tormented by numerous phobias. Perhaps talent alone would not have allowed Salvador to gain such a position and fame had it not been for his resourceful and constantly inspiring wife.

What did Gala herself get out of it? Having her husband's fortune at her disposal, she gave her admirers expensive gifts, funded luxurious trips, showered with money, handed out her husband's paintings.

For example, the press wrote about her affair with a much younger American, William Rothlein. He was a drug addict she had spotted on a New York street. He reminded her of young Salvador. She wanted him to become an actor, so she took him to Italy and introduced him to Felini. Meanwhile, however, the fiery romance burned out and Gala sent her lover back to New York.

Passions tugged the passionate Russian woman even at the end of her life. The 80-year-old Gala fell in love with the rock star Jeff Fenholtta, known from the musical "Jesus Christ Superstar". They met by chance at a meeting where Salvador was also present. Gala completely lost her head for her 57 years younger lover. She bought him a house in America and often invited him to her palace in Spain.

Ms Dalí's recent affair has ruined her relationship with her husband for good. "A decrepit old man who had nothing to do with me anymore" - that's what she said about her partner after half a century of living together. When she died in June 1982, the famous husband and lover whom she called the greatest love of life were not with her.

Púbol Castle, where Gala lived, was surrounded by a beautiful garden. Salvador, however, did not always gain access to it.

Salvador Dalí has ​​gone down in history as a genius, an outstanding painter, and an icon of modern art. The gala was remembered as an eccentric addition to the master's legend - a muse and a nymphomaniac. The contempt for conventions and social norms manifested by Gala in the 1960s and 1970s was shocking for those times.

A 70-year-old lady who strokes the thighs of twenty-year-old men in public? Even nowadays, such a sight may seem outrageous. Although we have been used to seeing rich older men with much younger partners for a long time.