About the Acquisition
Dalí’s The Sacrament of the Last Supper was given to the National Gallery of Art by one of its greatest benefactors, Chester Dale. Dale reputedly suggested the subject matter, and he purchased Dalí’s self-proclaimed masterpiece as soon as it was finished. He then sent it to the Gallery, where it was placed on public view the day before Easter in 1956. As Dale put it, “This is a picture for all time. It’s too important to keep for a few.” Dale and Dalí both attended the special preview, and more than 7,000 visitors flocked to the museum to see the painting the first day it was displayed.
The friendship between artist and collector was an enduring one. Dalí and his wife, Gala, were frequent guests at the Dales’ apartment, while Dale and his second wife, Mary, visited Dalí at his home in Spain. Dale pronounced Dalí “one of the greatest artists of our day,” and Dalí held the collector in equally high regard. Upon learning of Dale’s death in December 1962, Dalí mourned the passing of the man he described as “a great patron of the arts,” whom he compared to those of the Renaissance.
This poster is a reproduction of Salvador Dalí's The Sacrament of the Last Supper (1955) from the Chester Dale Collection at the National Gallery of Art. Its Christian subject matter, simplicity of organization, and lack of shock value separate The Sacrament of the Last Supper from most of Salvador Dalí’s other works. Dalí’s reputation from the late 1920s to the mid-1940s was founded on his surrealist manner and use of Freudian dream imagery. This tableau is both religious and realistic: the background accurately portrays the view from Dalí’s home on the Catalan coast of northeastern Spain.
- 24 x 32 inches (images is 16.25 x 26.5 inches)