After a gilded youth in the Canary Islands, Dominguez took up painting when the family fortune was lost. He described his first exhibition—in 1933 at the Circulo de Bellas Artes in Tenerife, Spain—as surrealist before having even met André Breton. Upon his arrival in Paris, in 1934, Dominguez mingled with members of the surrealist group. Residing in Montmartre, for a while he made a living as a commercial artist, making small-format paintings with metaphorical imagery, for example, The Safety Pin (1934), which portrays a woman with a safety pin for a head. A truculent personality bursting with creativity, in 1935 he invented "decalcomania without a preconceived object," renewing surrealist experimentation in the field of pure automatism. The process went as follows: black gouache was applied to a sheet of paper, onto which a second identical sheet was pressed; the second sheet was then lifted and reapplied until completely dry. The resulting image was interpreted and given a title. Dominguez also extended this transfer technique to canvas. He went on to create "lithochronism," which he called, "a mechanism for solidifying, petrifying time," that involved "a surface wrapping that encompasses an object in all of its positions in space." The "packagings" in contemporary art are derived from Domínguez' lithochronism. Domínguez' cosmic period resulted in the paintings Nostalgia of Space (1939, Museum of Modern Art, New York) and Lancelot 28° 33° (1939, ibid). After the war, his painting was so influenced by Picasso that he lost his singular vision, representing familiar objects, such as a telephone, lamp or gramophone, his studio or a landscape at Hyères, in the manner of his mentor.  

Óscar Domínguez

Born 1906 in Tenerife, Spain; died 1957 in Paris.  

The Lion-Bicycle, Gouache decalomania on paper, 1936