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Gala – Russian muse of the great genius

Gala and Dali
Gala was a mysterious and highly intuitive woman, who was able to recognize artistic and creative genius when she saw him.
The woman became Dali’s greatest inspiration, his wife, friend, secretary, his muse and goddess.
Elena Diakonova (Gala’s real name, 1894-1982) was born in Kazan, Russia. She spent her childhood in Moscow where she got a good education. Diakonova graduated from the M.G. Brukhonenko academy for young ladies with a very high average mark.

In 1912 she suffered of the tuberculosis, and the family sent her to Switzerland, where she met Eugene Grindel (later known as Paul Eluard). They married in 1917, and the following year their daughter Cecile was born. Because of Diakonova, Paul began to write love poetry. And she became his muse, constantly inspired him to create new poems. However, in 1929 Paul met Maria Benz (Nusch), his new muse, and future wife.

Elena and Paul Eluard

Elena and Paul Eluard

Paul Eluard

Paul Eluard

Eluard was related with the leading figures of the surrealist movement, his wife also attended some of their meetings. Elena met Max Ernst, German and French painter, in 1921, when together with her husband Paul visited the artist in the city of Cologne (Germany). She posed for Max and became his lover. The following year, Ernst moved to an Eluard’s house in Val d’Oise ( France) . They didn’t hide the love triangle. Max Ernst painted her in a number of portraits. Their relationship broke off in 1924.

Gala portrait by Max Ernst

Gala’s portrait by Max Ernst

Max Ernst

Max Ernst

Elena met Salvador Dali in 1929. She was 36 and Dali 25. When the painter met Gala he fell in love with her. In 1930, she left Eluard and their daughter, and went to Dali. But the Eluards divorced only in 1932 and after 2 years Paul married Nusch.
Gala was portrayed as Dali’s one and only muse that made him a man and an internationally acclaimed genius. She was alternatively portrayed as Madonna, Venus and Helen the Beautiful – a delusion, an incantation, a talisman. She was not beautiful, but everyone admitted her charm.

Dali and his muse married in 1958, 29 years after their first meeting.
In 1968 the painter bought a castle in Pubol, Girona, where Gala lived separately from her husband , and he was able to attend it only with the written permission of his wife. Since 1996 the castle has been open to the public as the Gala-Dali Castle House Museum in Pubol.
During her last years she suffered from serious and painful diseases. “The day of death, – she said – will be the happiest day of my life.” Gala died on June 10, 1982, she was 88…
After the death of his wife Dali was deeply depressed. The motif of mourning dominated in his paintings for a long time.
On January 23, 1989, while his favorite record of Tristan and Isolde was playing, Dali died of heart failure at the age of 84.
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Gala – Russian muse of the great genius