SALVADOR DALÍ (1904–1989) was a surrealist artist and writer. He became a leading figure in the surrealist movement, and remains the most recognizable and most renowned artist of the 20th century.
In 1973 Peter Owen travelled to meet Dalí at his home at Port Lligat, Cadaqués in Catalonia to negotiate translation rights for the eccentric painter’s only novel. The two of them hammered out a deal next to a phallic-shaped pool.
“He was quite mad, except when it came to money. He’d then suddenly become incredibly sane. He was the son of a notary, he reminded me, and proclaimed to my wife Wendy, ‘Dalí loves money!'” – Peter OwenWritten in 1944, Hidden Faces is as bizarre and as jewelled as any of his work. His adjective-laden prose attempts to create visual imagery as richly detailed and startling as his paintings in depitcting the lives of a group of aesthetes in the days before World War II. “For all its showing off,” wrote Margaret Reynolds reviewing it in The Times, “the novel is a serious account of the extremes of experience forced by war. Most surprising is a prophetic scene with Hitler, defeated, in his tower at Berchtesgaden, and gloating over the stolen treasures of the world while listening to Wagner. We can all recognise the masks in Dalí’s art … We all remember the moustached mask he wore himself in life. Dalí’s novel is the work of the clown who sees behind the smile. Hidden Faces is an apt title for something so glittering and sinister.”