It isn’t entirely clear when or where the two first met. Although they exhibited together in March 1930, Jeffett suggests the November film premiere of Dalí’s L’Age d’Or (1930) as a possible meet cute. “There’s a seating chart where you can see that Dalí and his wife Gala were seated near Duchamp, about three rows away from each other,” he notes. “It’s very probable that they met each other around that time.”
By 1933, their friendship had blossomed—there are photographs of Duchamp, Dalí, and Gala summering together in eastern Spain. Duchamp and his companion, Mary Reynolds, rented a house in Cadaqués, not far from Dalí’s home in the Spanish fishing village of Portlligat. Duchamp and Dalí’s meetings were largely social, involving frequent visits, beach trips, and parties.
Their relationship demonstrates a seldom-admitted truth about artists’ lives, says Hine. “There’s an idea that artists are always looking after their own careers and their own place in art history,” he explains, “but there was tremendous affection between these two people.”
“People tend to just talk about artists in isolation, as if they don’t live in the world, and in fact they do,” Jeffett adds. “All these people knew each other.”