Óscar Domínguez

Óscar Domínguez
Born Jan. 3, 1906
Died Dec. 31, 1957
Nationality Spanish, French
Movement Surrealism
Field Painting
Works View Complete Works

Óscar Domínguez was a surrealist painter who spent most of his working life in France. He was born in the city of San Cristóbal de La Laguna (most often referred to as La Laguna) on the Spanish island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands in 1906.

oscar-dominguez-mujeres-1942-christiesThe artist was afflicted by a progressive disease, which stunted his growth and caused deformities to his limbs and his face. When he was quite young, he moved about ten miles from La Laguna to live with his grandmother in the city of Tacaronte. He developed an interest in art from an early age. Most of his early works were landscape paintings.


He moved to Paris to join his father in 1927 and remained there for the rest of his life. Interestingly, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which has many of his works, regards his nationality as French.

oscar-dominguez-silent-listener-1943After arriving in Paris, he became increasingly interested in surrealism. He met and befriended Picasso and other surrealists, and many of his adult works were influenced by Picasso.


Many of his best-known paintings were completed in oils on canvas using vivid coloring in the surrealist style. The Picasso influence is very evident in a lot of his paintings, and he was sometimes criticized because of the similarity of his paintings to those of Picasso. Works like Composición con Fondo Azul, done in 1949, and Corrida II and Tauromaquia, both done in 1951, very clearly show Picasso’s influence.

oscar-dominguez-femme-sur-divanHe also produced many works that appeared dark and grotesque, including a self-portrait in 1931 showing his deformed arms with wrists cut open, a frightening presage of his later suicide.

Death and Burial

Dominguez committed suicide on December 31, 1957 by cutting his wrists. He was interred in the Bischoffsheim family tomb in Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris. Dominguez had had an affair with Madame de Noailles, who was a Bischoffsheim and who arranged his burial.

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