Oscar Dominguez Biography

Oscar Dominguez




Oscar M. Domínguez was born on January 3, 1906, in San Cristóbal de La Laguna, on the island of Tenerife, on the Canary Islands, Spain. After the death of his mother, 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 skeletal structure.
Domínguez went to Paris at the age of twenty-one where he first worked for his father in his export business in the central market of Les Halles. He began to frequent art schools, and visited galleries and museums. He was rapidly attracted by avant-garde painters, notably Max Ernst, Yves Tanguy and fellow Spaniards Dali and Pablo Picasso, whose influences were visible in Domínguez’s first works. At twenty-five, he painted a surreal self-portrait full of premonition as he showed himself with a deformed hand and with the veins of his arm cut.
In 1933 Domínguez met André Breton, a theoretician of Surrealism, and Paul Éluard, known as the poet of this movement, and took part in the Surrealist exhibitions held in Copenhagen, London, and one he organized in Tenerife, Spain in 1936. During this time Domínguez studied experimental printmaking with Stanley William Hayter at Atelier 17 in Paris.
He began to use 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. In 1952 he started an affair with Marie-Laure de Noailles, a patron of the Surrealists and a descendant of the Marquis de Sade.
Domínguez committed suicide in Paris on 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.