The first sculptural works by Salvador Dalí date from the late 1920s, a period when he made a number of objects and ceramic pieces. However, the first real phase of his sculpture-making began shortly after his move to Paris in the early 1930s. During these years, up until 1939, Dalí concentrated on producing a considerable number of Surrealist objects and other sculptures. Most of these are unique pieces, and some were also ephemeral, and in these cases the pieces are only known from photographs or descriptions.
From the 1940s until the end of the 1960s, approximately, Dalí created sculptures and objects for a number of specific projects. Also in this period, from 1941 to 1958, we find his most significant output in jewellery and smithing. It is also worth noting various sculptures, objects and installations he produced during this period for the Portlligat house, above all after his return from the United States in 1948.
During the 1960s and especially during the 1970s Dalí made numerous editions of sculpture. On the one hand, he authorized original editions in bronze of some of his Surrealist sculptures and objects of the 1930s. It is very likely that one of the reasons for these editions was to ensure there were works to be shown in the many retrospective exhibitions that were held during these years. On the other hand, at the same time Dalí signed several contracts for the production of new sculptures, for the most part in multiple editions. In these cases, Dalí himself made the original model - in a malleable material, usually wax - that was to be run off for the edition, and was personally involved in overseeing the production process.
Another important moment in Dalí's sculptural output can be identified with the process of conceiving and realizing the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres, for which Dalí created a number of important works, including sculptures, installations and manipulated objects, especially from the beginning of the 1970s until the opening of the Dalí Theatre-Museum in September 1974.