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A new exhibit in Panama City will spotlight the connection between legendary surrealist painter Salvador Dalí and food. The show, entitled “The Dinners of Gala,” which opened July 12 at Cultural Center of Spain-Casa del Soldado, focuses on lithographs Dalí created in 1971 to illustrate the cookbook Les Diners de Gala. Only 1,000 copies of the book were printed in 1974.

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The show was organized by the Ibero-American University Foundation, or Funiber.

“Dali’s love of cuisine was related to the fact that his father, like a good Catalan, was a connoisseur and would take his son to dine at Spain’s best restaurants,” Gregorio Urriola, director of Funiber, told a reporter.

The inspiration for the cookbook was a dinner organized by Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and his wife, Empress Farah Diva, in 1971, by the restaurant Maxim’s. The event commemorated the anniversary of the founding of the Persian Empire. The name was a play on his wife’s name, Gala, and the idea of a gala dinner.

The detailed and typically Dali-esque lithographs are 76 x 56 centimeters and feature three of the foods “most symbolic and omnipresent in Dali’s paintings”: eggs, bread and cheese, Urriola said. The 12-chapter book contains 136 recipes from international chefs, including a few by Dali himself.

“In one of his autobiographies, Dali said he was a cook since he was eight years old,” Urriola said.

The Cultural Center has been hosting a Dalí exhibition organized by Funiber, “Dreams of Caprichosos Pantagruel,” which opened in May. “The Dinners of Gala” will run through Aug. 28.

Click here for more information.

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