Oscar Domínguez

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scar M. Domínguez (January 3, 1906 – December 31, 1957) was a Spanish surrealist painter.[1] Born in San Cristóbal de La Laguna on the island of Tenerife, on the Canary Islands Spain, Domínguez spent his youth with his grandmother in Tacoronte and devoted himself to painting at a young age after suffering a serious illness which affected his growth and caused a progressive deformation of his facial bone frame and limbs.

He went to Paris at 21 where he first worked for his father in the central market of Les Halles, and spent his nights diving in cabarets. He then frequented some art schools, and visited galleries and museums.

Domínguez was rapidly attracted by avant-garde painters, notably Yves Tanguy and Pablo Picasso, whose influences were visible in his first works. At 25 he painted a self-portrait full of premonition as he showed himself with a deformed hand and with the veins of his arm cut. He chose to kill himself 27 years later by cutting his veins.

In 1933 Domínguez met André Breton, a theoretician of Surrealism, and Paul Éluard, known as the poet of this movement, and took part a year later in the Surrealist exhibition held in Copenhagen and those of London and Tenerife in 1936.

He took up the Russian-invented technique of decalcomania in 1936, using gouache spread thinly on a sheet of paper or other surface (glass has been used), which is then pressed onto another surface such as a canvas.

His 1937 oil painting The Infernal Machine sold for 2 770 000 FF (US $ 404,375) on June 8, 2000 at Drouot-Montaigne in Paris.

His 1933 oil painting Roma's portrait sold for 902,500 GBP (US $ 1,469,270) on Feb. 4th. 2014 at CHRISTIE'S in London.[2]

In 1952 he started an affair with Marie-Laure de Noailles, who called him "putchie".[3]

Domínguez committed suicide December 31, 1957, by slitting his wrists in the bath. Marie-Laure arranged to have him interred in the Bischoffsheim family mausoleum in the Montparnasse cemetery

Spanish Version Translation

The following section may be helpful.


Oscar Manuel Domínguez Palazón was born on January 3, 1906 in the house marked number 64 then the Blacksmiths street of La Laguna in Tenerife, Canary Islands. He was the only son of the marriage formed by Antonio Andres Dominguez, a possessor of extensive agricultural landed properties Tacoronte, and Maria Palazón Riquelme, Murcia lagunera family of origin; «fruto, As murmujeaba, the reunion of the young couple after some disagreements for womanizing. Walking the years, the Oscar itself vanagloriaría be reborn fruit of love, and even put on the lips of the dying mother a hypothetical conversation with his father, which [...] I wanted to protect forever l'enfant de notre reconciliation, which are ne jamais of chagrin.»; 1 this way and according to the painter, his mother, on her deathbed, would have made her father swear that the child would not cry jamás.2 3 your christening He held at the First Parish of Our Lady of the Conception of the same city on April 26. They were godparents her sister Julia Domínguez Palazón, who was then twelve years old, and José Izquierdo Dominguez, cousin and close friend of Antonio Dominguez.

"By being a child of love Dominguez attributed a premonitory value. His mother -such as he confessed in Paris to his friend Marcel Jean- had suffered an attempted poisoning at the hands of a woman with whom his father had relations. Fruit of reconciliation between birth parents was ".4 Regarding the episode about the attempted poisoning of Mary Palazón, the painter Marcel Jean would have recovered verbatim oral information provided by the same Oscar Dominguez:

"Avant naissance ma lui avait déjà -ma deserve donne deux filles. Il s'éprit habitant dans une femme propriété Voisine one of the sienne. Cette espagnole, très belle, devint sa maîtresse; elle lui rendait visit parfois dans sa demeure, ma mère silence acceptant in the presence of sa rivale. A jour tous trois coffee prenaient you, ma mère au trouva settles a goût singulier; elle s'abstint of s'arrangea boire et pour les tasses à l'remporter office, où elle versa le contenu dans sienne one of the petite bouteille, puis elle fit will analyze par un pharmacien. Le breuvage contenait du poison. '5

Subsequent investigations disprove the version of Oscar Dominguez on these facts, "since they poured poison into the cup of Oscar Dominguez mother was not an owner of a neighboring estate, but a house servant" .6 regarding the request of oath Dominguez puts into the mouth of her mother, also collected by Jean:

"Notre fils, dit-elle lui, l'enfant de notre reconciliation, je ne veux qu'il soit jamais de chagrin. Jure-moi que ce ne enfant pleurera jamais. "7

It seems that the latter is false, "since her sisters so they claim. Such an oath is a product of fantasy Dominguez "8

Early years

When Oscar Dominguez has a year old, his mother, twenty-nine, is pregnant again. Maria Palazón Riquelme give birth to a girl in the same house where Oscar was born on December 21, 1907. newborn, named Maria Demetria's, however dies two days, according to the parish death certificate vice «de of conformidad»; that is, because of a physical malformation or, more specifically, cranial deformation. Three weeks later Maria Palazón also pass away because of a puerperal.9 septicemia At three years, contracts Dominguez turn Sydenham chorea, popularly known as "St. Vitus" after the shock caused by the encounter with a dog . The symptoms were loss of speech and paralysis that had him bedridden for two years. In this time could only make involuntary movements. Not reach fully recover until five years old.

To be motherless, she attracts Dominguez care of her two older sisters and her paternal grandmother Federica. Since then, «se could guess his vocation as a painter, but what had caused greater surprise during his childhood was the arbitrariness of his character, his natural rebelliousness, lack of bias or moral habits. A naturally developed individualism against all norms and all conduct establecida».10 Dealing with the servants of the house also imply a factor of consideration in early configuration of your personality. Initially, it would have highlighted the possible influence «de a faithful servant of great beauty and inclination to peasant oral traditions of witchcraft, Concha called the "busyness" ", 11 but later marked as «falsa the importance it attaches Eduardo Westerdahl to one of the maids of the house, Concha called the "busyness". Westerdahl has spread the legend that was a sorceress who threw the cards and introduced to Oscar in the world of the magical arts and popular superstition. According to information [...] of his two sisters this is completely falso».12

Oscar Dominguez's father, Antonio Andrés Domínguez Mesa, who have admired the painter vehemently, has been portrayed by different chronic or testimony as «refinado», «elegante», «culto», «solitario», «buen conversador» , «de atuendo» elegant and «algo mujeriego». He undertook frequent trips to Europe, where it would provide instrumentation; a telescope, cameras, binoculars, etc. Aiming at collecting, books complement tricomías residence, Aboriginal skeletal remains, preserved butterflies, ceramics and landscapes of his own. Possessed of an extraordinary manual dexterity, according to the painter, «Il était agronome, ingénieur, peintre, mécanicien. C'est lui qui m'a d'ailleurs appris' to peindre», 13 amateur landscapes oil that would conduct Antonio Andrés course the first painting lessons of Oscar Dominguez. Moreover, Domínguez Mesa, liberal ideals and political vocation, it would be invested mayor of Tacoronte during the Second Republic. Liberalism «condicionó education somehow Oscar, as his father allowed to unleash your child's personality and not resort to punishment and reprimendas».14

Until the age of eight years, Oscar Dominguez and his family reside in La Laguna Blacksmiths street, passing a season in Santa Cruz de Tenerife and summering in the paternal house of Tacoronte, in the neighborhood of El Calvario. With the death of Maria Palazón, the father of Oscar intensify its presence in Tacoronte to improve control of land use of their property; It is between 1913 and 1914 when it is estimated that the Dominguez family established their permanent residence in the house of the Calvario.15

In his childhood, vividly impresses the future artist's death his cousin Mariquita, playmate of the same age; and in adulthood, he would recall how in his funeral the girl was buried in a box of glass top. Finally, «el anecdotes of his childhood pranks is endless. On one occasion it is said that at beach Guayonge out to row a small boat that had been built [...] and by fishermen who jumped to rescue saved. On another occasion he pulled a gold tooth his cousin Juanito Dominguez because he had no money to go to cine».16

Neighborhood in Tacoronte


Children's games Oscar Dominguez in the black sand beaches such as Guayonje, the steep ravines of the region or the garden of his home in El Calvario, along with other characteristic features of Tacoronte, would provide the future artist of a personal imagery it should be reflected later as part of his work.

In Tacoronte, the father of Oscar Dominguez pay special attention to his estate Guayonje provided with several series of terraces at the foot of a acantiliado about 700 m.s.m .; Antonio Dominguez would have designed for the ground irrigation system itself as well as a cable car engine model by which it would be better for the transport of the products, the rise of the banana crop and declining provisions. Subsequently, it would also build a summer house on a hillock surrounded by sugarcane fields near the sea, characterized by its small tower crowned with battlements, which would give the appearance of a headframe.

The house Oscar Dominguez Tacoronte an enclave is then dominated by a series of alhóndigas. Years after his death, politician, journalist and personal friend of the painter, Elfidio Alonso Rodriguez, recalled:

"In one of those alhóndigas, the excatamente in front of the house Dominguez, killed a poor drunk who had taken her household. Ameneció hanging from a window, stitched stab wounds. The horrendous crime was committed before we were born, but could be heard in our childhood as a romance blind. "17

The image of the prostitute can econtrarse impaled one of his oil paintings of 1934, I remember my island or landscape Canaries.

In the garden of the same house of El Calvario also it grew an ancient specimen of dragon tree, which, before dropping down by a temporary, would become one of the most evocative icons of his painting.


Bachelor of La Laguna

At twelve years old, Oscar Dominguez is sent by his father as a pensioner internal annex to Secondary School Students of La Laguna. 1924, when there was still no conluido his studies at the Institute, data photographic evidence testimony that his early artistic vocation; on a terrace of his house Guayonge poses in front of one of his paintings depicting a female nude and whose style is reminiscent of Art Deco aesthetics. Also in 1924 and 1925 some first illustrations of pencil and watercolor Dominguez, such as Woman with shawl and urban background, Portrait of woman, woman and woman head with scarf preserved.

His studies at the Institute of La Laguna were nothing brilliant; the same day that expired registration period for the 1921-1922 course, Antonio A. Dominguez attends the center to formalize the entry of his son as a repeater in the subjects of eleventh grade; while registered for all purposes in the official study center La Laguna, Oscar Dominguez appear on the lists of students of Secondary Education Establishment of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. In the academic year 1922-1923, Dominguez is reregistered by his father in six subjects, of which only approve the slope and History of Spain, also benefiting from a general enough in gymnastics; not be submitted to the examination of the three remaining subjects in the two calls for that year. Finally, he is enrolled in the course 1923-1924 the center, but go to the final tests. It is in this last period when the painter definitively renounces his studies.

First stay in Paris

Oscar Dominguez had left the island of Tenerife at nineteen and left for Paris where, according to his own testimony, "he was from January 1925"; 18 his father would have sent the young painter to the French capital to perform the functions of with his representative office in sending futas, not exercising any function for the company of remarkable economic responsibility. For its part, "Oscar Dominguez was interested in impersonating representative of a carefree and joyful youth, a" jeunesse dorée "." 19 This reason could have motivated some of their biographical sketches of the time:

"En fait le plus clair and Passais de mon temps à faire la fête. Il m'arrivait d'apparaitre aux Halles, vers cinq heures du matin, sortant d'une boîte de nuit; des bureaux dans le comissionnaires »20

In this first Parisian stay, Oscar was accompanied by her sister Antonia and her brother, the painter Alvaro Fariña, who were installed in a city apartment. The same year, Dominguez is called up for the exercise of compulsory military service. However, it is not incorporated at the time the militia to formally requested service reduction, for the grant of the payment of a total quota of five thousand pesetas will be required; 21 in this way, Oscar Dominguez later would join the militia under the popular name "recruit quota '.

military service

Next date of entry into the headquarters for compliance with the period of military training, is deposited in the consulate of Spain in the French capital a letter to the commander in chief of the Canary Islands in Santa Cruz de Tenerife instance, signed Oscar Domínguez Palazón in Paris on September 24, 1927, approving the extension of the date of incorporation of the signatory to the Army requested. Reason justifies this request to meet the artist at that time in Paris "dedicated to trade in fruit and leave him would cause great harm that would cause almost totally the loss of business with the breadwinner of life"; that is, that "could not be in the islands at the time of being cited, wanting not fall into any are missing when your call is not in that, having fielísima intention of fulfilling his military duties as soon as practicable" .22 the written request for an extension is sent by the Spanish consulate to Madrid Ministry of State for regulatory referral to the Captaincy General of the Canary Islands, where he would have input in the offices of Staff on October 28 duct. However, the instance is not included in the box Recruits of Tenerife for its mandatory report until 7 January 1928. Local media however give evidence of the presence of Dominguez in his homeland at the end of March 1927, reporting on the feast day of recognition offered twenty "partners, friends and admirers" the young painter in the halls of Minerva Circle Tacoronte, whose walls had decorated himself. Among the speakers involved in the act contain the tacorontero journalist Antonio Dorta.23 The extension request would be eventually denied entry.

Oscar Dominguez in Tenerife remained the duration of the period of instruction acuartalemaiento coast of the Joint Artillery Regiment, which concluded in October 1928. That same stage of life is preserved at least one graphic testimony of their exercise in the military service. During his education at the Ateneo, Dominguez news would multidisciplinary artist collective Paper Bow ties and development of its theatrical activity around the Circulo de Bellas Artes de Tenerife by means of the poet and fellow military service, Domingo Lopez Torres.24 immediately after completing the service time in rows, swear flag and get unlimited liciencia as a soldier share, Dominguez raises a new letter to the military authority of the archipelago, on November 8 immediately, requesting authorization to "return to Paris , having being absolute necessity return to that capital of France, by the time a year, to serve their interests, which are currently in a state of abandonment, while undertake to appear at all times that the nation required "25 in the report, signed on the 13th, Colonel mixed Artillery regiment Tenerife" estimates that could be accessed as requested "according to the typewritten note written outside the reference. Because of the requirement of the person for the empowerment against notary by signature, Dominguez would have remained, at least until January 30, 1929 in Tenerife.

Exhibition of Fine Arts Circle 1928

In late 1928 Oscar Dominguez exhibited his first paintings at the Fine Arts in Tenerife with the French painter Lily Guett. The exhibition catalog record his following works: The violinist "Fetish" Peddlers, at home Dressmaker, The game of cards, Forms, Harlequin and his wife, girls who go by water Man painting, Woman red scarf, exposure, and three works on Still life. The works are then heavily criticized, particularly by writer Ernesto Ramos Pestana, one of the editors of the magazine La Rosa de los Vientos:

"If you ask Oscar Dominguez what was proposed to staining canvases without preconceived order, without plastic combination of masses and colors, surely I could not answer the question. Or if answered honestly, I would say: "I wanted to make me understand not doing cubism I have not understood" .»26

Death of Antonio Dominguez

On 10 September 1931 Oscar Domínguez and loses his father Antonio Domínguez Mesa, who died hounded by creditors and leaving his family in a committed economic situation; the family would lose the right on most goods Antonio A. Dominguez before the debts incurred by its owner. At this time, Oscar decides to return to Tenerife to intervene in the administration of the estate of his father, with little success. In January 1932 returns to Paris. Until then Oscar Dominguez would have kept thanks to a monthly allowance from the Canary Islands. The young painter then decided to offer their services for the advertising industry. Following the events, Dominguez begin at this time his career as a professional designer, who according to Jean- «oficio exercised with imagination, easily and desgana».27

At this time the painter attends exhibitions of modern painting and frequents academies where you draw the natural models to improve their professional skills. Most of his work as a publicist, which only works survive, date from 1934; among them is an advertisement for the candy brand butter Krama commissioned by the Office International de Publicité et d'Edition as well as a tourist poster for the Tourist Board of the Council of Tenerife. On the other hand, Oscar Dominguez during these years resorted to falsifying consecrated by authors such as Monet or Sisley to obtain greater economic gain works.


Exhibitions in the Canary Islands

Circle Exhibition of Fine Arts in 1932

In 1932 Oscar Domínguez presents his first surrealist paintings in the annual exhibition of the Fine Arts of Tenerife between 18 and 31 December with the work of Robert Gumbricht, Servando del Pilar, Alvaro Fariña, Pedro de Guezala, Francisco Borges and Francisco Bonnin. Domingo López Torres dedicate a laudatory article to sample the painter in La Prensa on 21 December. Another report, signed by «Leonardo» positively collect the pictorial proposal in the report Oscar Dominguez Circle Exhibition of Fine Arts on December 29 in the newspaper Hoy.

"From the most advanced and daring of the exhibition this year are the pictures of Oscar Domínguez.Surrealista, navigating through the sewers of himself, reveals true inner landscapes, not of much value from the pictorial point of view (although Vision Paris is a perfect realization) and from the scientific point of view, as a psychic document of the time, as perfect psychogram. painting service science "28

Art exhibitions Gazette 1933

Solo exhibition of the Circle of Fine Arts


In 1933 Dominguez sent from Paris to writing team Gaceta de Arte text International Journal of exhibitions, which is published in March of the same year by the Gazette itself in its number 13.29 Shortly after Dominguez made a new trip to Tenerife accompanied by Roma , an accomplished Polish pianist, daughter of a doctor and a translator of consignees of vessels, broad culture and a mastery of languages. Although parents of Rome had high economic status, his daughter lived separated from them without receiving financial allocations. Oscar and Rome convivirían during this time leading a bohemian life, with some penalties in the neighborhood of Montmartre.30

The first indivicual Oscar Dominguez exhibition is organized by the group Gaceta de Arte and held at the Circulo de Bellas Artes de Tenerife between 4 and 15 May. Gaceta de Arte include parallel a short article on the sample number 15 of the same mes.31 For this occasion the paintings of surreal tinerfeño Invisible Woman, levels of desire, «La France», Oedipus, The enigma of inspiration will be on display, study for Self-Portrait, «Extase», surreal Effect, Death of an ox, I love Afternoon No. 1 No. Afternoon love 2, desire, decorative Subject, my native country, and a second surreal effect. Eduardo Westerdahl published in La Tarde a first report on May 9, Circle of Fine Arts: The Surrealist exhibition of the painter Oscar Dominguez, while Domingo López Torres devotes two articles: Expression of Gaceta de Arte: What is Surrealism 32 and Gazette expression of art: the surrealismo.33

"The show presents 15 works in the Surrealist trend topic of sex. O.D. It makes great explorations in the subconsciousness, returning in all its fabrics with a dominant repressed instincts that appear. Painter of great imaginative power, leads his painting with great sincerity and expressed plastically with great placidity inks. "34

Of writing published by Eduardo Westerdahl under the 1933 sample is extracted the following comment:

"Oscar Dominguez, within your school, how come from? Let us even closer. Let us affirm: Oscar Dominguez, in his private life, from head to toe, in all directions of its steps, is truly surreal. He loves the trend as their own, as piece of himself. It is not the imposture of a "snob". It is the sincerest result of a strange psychology. Oscar departs from the perfect objective construction, real forms of Salvador Dalí. Dalí loves forms. Oscar is more in the dream. Dalí also sets the tone for end tables; Oscar not finished. When he finds a body expands as if working in gases. The gas is your perfect vehicle of sleep. "35

Exhibition Mercantile Circle of Las Palmas

Three months after exposure in the Fine Arts in Tenerife, Oscar Dominguez will participate along with Servando del Pilar and Robert Gumbricht in a group exhibition organized by Gaceta de Arte again in the Mercantile Circle of Las Palmas in Gran Canaria. This time will be four articles published on the sample: Vision: Oscar Domínguez36, Come, gentlemen, come ... 37, G. A.! in Las Palmas: Oscar Dominguez, 38 and Exposing 'Gaceta de Arte' in the Circle Mercantil.39

Agustin Espinosa, resident in these years of the city of Las Palmas, express their impressions of the painter's work as follows:

"Oscar Dominguez carries its tropical and faunal humanity. A sex god inspires and contends. Dreams and nightmares of torture desperezan love in his paintings. What sobrerreal shakes his train rails on fire. A ghost ship drags him by a stormy sea waves blossomed like tongues of women and female fish village sexes, furrowed current as long spasms, agitated by winds of an unsatisfied desire and eternal. "40

For his part, José Mateo Díaz refers in the newspaper La Provincia:

"Confronting pure cleanliness, serenity, Servando del Pilar, Oscar Domínguez highlights the dirt without reproach of his surrealist eroticism. opaque, matte, convulsive colors. mixed forms, riots, where fevered libido sees horses with female breasts, bodies or body parts of women fused with the most diverse forms of degustation, elements and sexual references everywhere. Everything is in this troubled painter in the most arbitrary and personal. Unfettered imagination constructs of any kind, in wild orgies and slightly demonic. It is the rough, thick, tousled world of dreams and the subconscious, about which Freud and psychoanalysts have tried to do some light. Everything is loaded with a closed drama of madness. "41

Surrealist exhibition of 1935

Through the mediation of Oscar Dominguez, the writing team Gaceta de Arte come into contact with the Surrealist circle in Paris; as a result of this meeting, held in 1935 the Second International Exhibition of Surrealism at the Ateneo de Santa Cruz de Tenerife; the first show of its kind held in Spain and the second of its kind with an alleged international projection. The event, led by Agustin Espinosa as president of the Ateneo and seconded by the other components of the Gazette would have the presence of the French André Breton, his wife Jacqueline Lamba and writer Benjamin Peret; the assistance of the surrealist poet Paul Eluard have also been initially planned. The exhibition, open to the public between 11 and 21 May, entail the presentation of a set of 76 works consisting of oils, watercolors, etchings and photographs by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Alberto Giacometti Hans Arp, Man Ray, René Magritte, Marcel Duchamp, Yves Tanguy, Victor Brauner or own Oscar Dominguez, among others. In parallel, the screening of the 1930 film The Golden Age director Luis Buñuel would have been scheduled for the closing of the sample; however, several institutional and media mobilisations by Catholics island groups entail the prohibition from the civil governor of their various countries cinematográficos.42

Exhibition of Contemporary Art, 1936

In 1936, after suffering a paratyphoid fever, Dominguez returns to Tenerife for physical participation in the Exhibition of Contemporary Art held between 10 and 20 June at the Fine Arts; an initiative organized at the request of group Gaceta de Arte in collaboration with the ADLAN association. The exhibition will present to the public his canvases Sewing Machine electro-sexual, I remember my island, Guanches Cave, I am right and Butterflies lost in the mountains, as well as four drawings. On June 20, during the closing ceremony of the exhibition, Dominguez gave a lecture in which evokes "the significance of the surrealist object, the work of Giacometti, and explains one of the legends of one of the paintings most excitement was caused in visitors of the exhibition. At this point warn protests in the room that are stifled by the same audience, who burst into prolonged applause to get the Dominguez own explanation of the picture. Then the conference continued in a delirious tone "Eduardo Westerdahl 43 published a note dedicated to Dominguez at number 38 of Gaceta de Arte, and an article in La Prensa, June 13.

After the military uprising of July, the painter finds refuge in Puerto de la Cruz, at her sister Julia. On August 13 Marcel Jean writes:

"... I thought to be in Paris on July 22 but the day of my departure explodes the revolution in Spain. Now, I hope to see what happens and, at the first opportunity, I will go to Paris. I can not write anything, now you can not write. I limit myself therefore to say I'm in trouble. I hope to see you soon ... "44

With the acquisition of a false passport, Dominguez escape the country through a greengrocer boat to return permanently to France.

Paris Surrealist group

At number 28 Gaceta de Arte July 1934, Oscar Dominguez publishes Charter of Paris. Conversation with Salvador Dalí, 45 since at least this date would date the painter tinerfeño meeting with the Parisian surrealist group. The meeting between Dominguez and André Breton would have taken place between September and October 1934 in the cafe of the Place Blanche, where the Surrealist group usually met; before joining the group «tuvo teach Breton "drawings and catalog of the 1933 exhibition" ».46 By then «Domínguez opens its decalcomania technique. A work of art gazette published for the first time on the cover of the monograría who writes about Willi Baumeister Westerdahl. Oscar makes his first "decalcomanias without preconceived object" or "decalcomanias with premeditated automatic interpretation" thus opening a new field of experiences for surrealismo».47

The procedure for conducting decalcomanias has been described as follows:

"With a thick brush should extend more or less diluted and satin black gouache immediately be coated with a similar sheet on which then moderate pressure will be exerted. After the second sheet rises slowly, and it appears a plastic representation. With this method, it is intended to stimulate the viewer's imagination, in the sense that remove stains of different images. "48

Until the end of the decade, Dominguez participation in the activities of the French Surrealist group becomes habitual.