One of the most intriguing and familiar twentieth-century artists, the surrealist Salvador Dali, receives an even-handed, sympathetic biographic treatment in this slender book by Tim McNeese. It is a volume in the "Great Hispanic Heritage" series from Chelsea House publishers. This series is aimed at older elementary and middle school students, and includes luminaries ranging from literary giant Miguel de Cervantes to controversial athlete Sammy Sosa. McNeese traces the evolution of Dali from his over-indulged childhood to eccentric, attention-grabbing surrealist painter and finally honored national icon. He intelligently discusses the influence of Freudian psychology on Dali's painting, as well as Dali's convoluted, often overheated relationships with other great twentieth century artists and writers. Because the author is so frank about the artist's sexual ambivalence and frequent references to sexuality in his paintings, this book is probably best reserved for older students. Disappointingly, few of the artist's paintings are reproduced in this book, even those minutely analyzed by the authora genuine failing that is not adequately addressed by listing several Web sites for viewing Dali's works. A somewhat limited timeline, footnotes, a bibliography, a suggested reading list, and an index round out the volume. 2006, Chelsea House Publishers, Ages 12 up.
Gr 9 Up-McNeese does a wonderful job of describing these men's lives and, more importantly, the times in which they lived. Like most biographies, the books follow their subjects from birth to death, filling in the names, dates, and faces along the way, but McNeese mainly discusses the men in terms of their art. However, because of the cultural influence of both Picasso and Dali, the author shows how they were both the products of the past and creators of the future. Throughout the texts, the artists cross paths with one another and with various other artists, writers, and political and cultural figures. Picasso includes representative pictures from each phase of the artist's career; Dali is woefully short on sample paintings. Nonetheless, both titles are expertly researched and concise introductions to two of the world's greatest artistic visionaries.-Steev Baker, Kewaskum Public Library, WI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.