Who? Salvador Dali When? 1931 Where? Spain The Persistence of Memory, which is sometimes referred to as Soft Watches, is one of Dali's most famous paintings. The Spanish painter started out as a member of a group of artists called the Surrealists. The Surrealists often produced strange art works. They tried to represent the things going on in a person's mind that they aren't necessarily aware of, like dreams. Dali began Persistence by painting one of his favourite scenes, the coastline of Catalonia at Cape Creus in Spain. He added the melting-clock images after a vision he had when eating Camembert cheese - the clocks have the texture of the soft cheese. There are four clocks in the painting: three limp clock faces, one of which has a fly on it, and a smaller timepiece which is being eaten by ants. Most people believe Dali is suggesting that time, and memories, are not as stable as we assume. In the centre of the painting is a distorted profile of a human face. This face also appears in Dali's earlier work, The Great Masturbator. Persistence was first exhibited in New York in 1932, and Dali sold it for US$250. It is now on display in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Dali was one of those rare artists who enjoyed fame and wealth. He died in 1989, aged 88. His fame, at least in part, was due to his talent for self-publicity. He was known to dress and act strangely to get his name in the newspapers. He was also notoriously greedy, vain and arrogant. He referred to himself lovingly in the third person as 'Dali'. In 1939, he was asked to design a shop window for Bonwit Teller in New York, then was arrested when he broke it after his designs were changed without his permission. Artist Andre Breton and other members of the Surrealist circle kicked him out of the group in 1934. Breton rearranged the letters in Dali's name to create a nickname: Avida Dollars (which translates to 'Eager for dollars'). Dali was fascinated by the ways in which modern life could be used to make money. He worked in advertising, created accessories, ashtrays, album covers, fabric and wall coverings, and dabbled in Hollywood: Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound and a short film with Disney called Destino which was finally released in 2003. But before he was swept away by his own hype, he created some of the most technically brilliant images of the 20th century, Persistence being one of them.