Some years ago, a writer for Publisher’s Weekly said, “Salvador Dalí’s swan-dive from Surrealist visionary to pathetic self-parody surely constitutes one of this century’s great case studies in career suicide.”
Fair enough. But Salvador Dalí doing a swan dive is a fun thing to watch, as these three television commercials from his later years demonstrate. The artist appeared in TV ads for a number of clients, including Lanvin Chocolates, Alka-Seltzer and Veterano brandy.
In the 1968 Lanvin commercial, the wild-eyed artist takes a bite of chocolate and it curls his mustache. He looks at the camera and says, “I’m crazy about Lanvin Chocolates,” with the emphasis on “crazy.”
Of course, there was method in Dalí’s madness. According to his biographer Meryle Secrest, Dalí’s minimum price for a minute of film was $10,000. The artist’s love of money is legendary. In 1939 André Breton, founder of the Surrealist movement, gave Dalí the nickname “Avida Dollars,” an anagram for “Salvador Dali” based on the French avide à dollars. It means “eager for dollars.”
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