by Walter Bilderback, Production Dramaturg
Lorca and Dali
The friendship between Federico García Lorca and Salvador Dali was particularly intense. For a period they were almost inseparable, with Lorca a frequent guest of Dali’s parents. Lorca appears in many of Dali’s paintings and drawings during this time: in several cases, Lorca’s face casts a shadow of Dali’s profile. Dali ended the friendship abruptly when he moved to France. There is still no confirmed reason why he did so, but several of Lorca’s biographers believe Dali, who may well have been Lorca’s lover, was frightened by Lorca’s public reputation as a gay man. (Dali was always very careful to pitch his outrageous persona within the frame of public acceptance.) Luis Buñuel also broke off his friendship with Lorca over the poet’s sexuality: the surrealist classic Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog) is widely considered to be a veiled attack on Lorca.
Lorca and Dali briefly reconciled when Dali returned to Spain in the year before Lorca’s murder. Dali by this time was praising both Hitler and Franco, and, perhaps because he wanted to appease Franco’s government, Dali did not condemn the murder for decades. His initial response was horrifying: “The moment of learned of his death . . . I cried ‘Ole!’ That’s what a Spaniard says in the presence of a bullfighter who has just executed a particularly successful move before a bleeding beast. I thought that for Lorca, it was the most beautiful way of dying: killed by the Civil War.”