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This Realist panel demonstrates that by 1926, Dalí’s formative years were drawing to a close; Dalí could achieve mastery in whatever style he chose. This painting has another distinction – it was one of the first Dalí paintings to be seen in America. In 1928 it was exhibited at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, along with two other works. The artist’s use of detailed illusionism and dramatic lighting against an almost black background alludes to the influence of the Spanish painter Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664), demonstrated in his work Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and a Rose, 1633. A contemporary of Diego Velázquez (1599-1660), de Zurbarán was renowned for his works’ austere piety and quiet beauty. Dalí saw bread as the staple of life of the Catalan people. Bread was the most basic element that united Catalans in their daily lives, and like Vermeer and Zurbarán, he renders it as a sublime symbol.
The painstaking realism of The Basket of Bread was a major achievement and marked a turning point in his career. It boosted Dalí’s ego and gave him a sense of mastery with traditional painting, freeing him to explore more difficult subject matter and imagery. This simple composition of bread in a straw basket on cloth is set dramatically against a dark background. Dalí followed in the Spanish still-life tradition, where a domestic scene represents spiritual reflection. By saturating the objects in such a mysterious light, he transforms the composition into an object of deep contemplation.
1926, Barcelona, Galeries Dalmau, "Exposició S. Dalí"
1928, Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute, "Twenty-Seventh International Exhibition of Paintings"
1932, Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute, "An Exhibition of Carnegie International Paintings Owned in Pittsburgh"
1941, New York, The Museum of Modern Art, "Salvador Dalí"
1942, Indianapolis, The John Herron Art Institute (Indianapolis Museum of Art), [Exhibition of paintings by Salvador Dali]
1943, Detroit, Detroit Institute of Arts, "Exhibition of paintings by Salvador Dali"
1946, Boston, The Institute of Modern Art, "Four Spaniards : Dalí, Gris, Miro, Picasso"
1965, New York, Gallery of Modern Art, "Salvador Dalí, 1910-1965"
1983, Barcelona, Palau Reial de Pedralbes, “400 obres de Salvador Dalí del 1914 al 1983”
1993, Figueres, Teatre-Museu Dalí, "Dalí, el Pa"
1994, Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, "Dalí Joven, 1918-1930"
1994, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, "Dalí: The Early Years"
1994, London, Hayward Gallery, "Dalí: The Early Years"
1995, Barcelona, Palau Robert, "Dalí: els Anys Joves, 1918-1930"
1995, St. Petersburg, Salvador Dali Museum, “The Young Dali: Works from 1914-1930”
1997, New York, Museum of Modern Art, Objects of Desire: the Modern Still Life"
1998, Pittsburgh, Andy Warhol Museum of Art, “Dalí at the Warhol”
1999, Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, "El Bodegón Español: de Zurbarán a Picasso"
1999, Shinjuku(Tokyo), Mitsukoshi Museum of Art, "Dalí Exhibition 1999"
1999, Fukuoka, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, "Dalí Exhibition 1999"
2004, Venezia, Palazzo Grassi, "Dalí Retrospective"
2005, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art, "Dalí Retrospective"
2006, Tokyo, Ueno Royal Museum, "Salvador Dalí Centennial Retrospective"
2007, St. Petersburg, Fl., Salvador Dalí Museum, "Dalí and the Spanish Baroque"
2016, St. Petersburg, Fl., Salvador Dalí Museum, "Ferran Adrià: The Invention more