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Oscar Domínguez (1906-1958)
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Oscar Domínguez (1906-1958)

Madamme

Details
Oscar Domínguez (1906-1958)
Madamme
signed and indistinctly dated 'OSCAR DOMINGUEZ 37' (lower right); signed, dated and inscribed 'OSCAR DOMINGUEZ 83 Bd. Montparnasse "MADAMME" 1937' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
24 x 19 7/8 in. (61 x 50.5 cm.)
Painted in 1937
Provenance
Private collection, Barcelona, by 1989.
Galerie Cazeau de la Béraudière, Paris.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in September 2006.
Literature
R. de Sosa, Oscar Domínguez: L'oeuvre peint, catalogue raisonné, vol. I, Paris, 1989, no. 11, p. 36 (illustrated).
Exh. cat., Oscar Domínguez: Antológica, 1926-1957, Las Palmas, Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno, 1995, p. 52 (illustrated).
Special Notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Anna Povejsilova
Anna Povejsilova

Lot Essay

Ana Vázquez de Parga has kindly confirmed the authenticity of this work.



Painted in 1937, Madamme dates from Oscar Domínguez’s partisan years within Surrealism, a time when the artist extensively contributed to the movement and produced some of his most significant works. Depicting a sort of ghostly appearance, the painting evokes a series of transmutations, for which the vaporous consistence of clouds turns into a stretched linen, which assumes, swirling like wind around the figures, a more sculptural, stone-like appearance. The landscape is that of Domínguez’s natal island, Tenerife, with its caves and cacti along the sea.

In 1937, at the time when Madamme was painted, Domínguez had just moved to Paris, settling in Montparnasse, where he would remain until the end of his life. That was the beginning of Domínguez’s close involvement with the Surrealists. The artist had first met André Breton and his group in 1934, at a café in Place Blanche. Since then, Domínguez would participate in the Surrealists’ most important exhibitions: in 1935 he would be instrumental in organising a Surrealist exhibition at the Ateneo in Santa Cruz de Tenerife; in 1936 he would participate in the International Surrealist Exhibition organised in London by Roland Penrose and, at the beginning of 1938, he contributed to the revolutionary, historical Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme at the Galerie des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Domínguez’s enigmatic paintings, tainted with memories, colours and forms from his native Tenerife deeply impressed the Surrealists. In 1937, Domínguez even appeared to Breton in a dream, as he painted an erotic, exotic painting in his studio (J. Pierre, ‘Óscar Domínguez ou le triomphe du fantasme’, in Óscar Domínguez Antológica 1926- 1957, exh. cat., Las Palmas de Grand Canaria, 1996, p. 315). None of the other Surrealist painters ever had such ‘privilege’. In the dream, Breton carefully followed the artist’s creative process, witnessing the prodigious creation of a painting in which fellating lions surged out of trees. After a precise analysis of the dream, Breton concluded: ‘[the dream] is enough to admit that we are in this case well placed to grasp as it happens the process of the artistic creation as we conceive it in Surrealism’ (ibid., p. 315). Domínguez thus must have appeared as a significant figure, exemplifying in his art some of the most fundamental creative principles of Surrealism.

In the 1930s, Domínguez indeed championed a new chance-driven technique, reinvigorating Surrealism’s call for ‘automatic expression’. In 1934 the artist had started to explore the potential of decalcomania, producing a series of evocative, volcanic, abstract landscapes. The following year, Domínguez shared his discovery with the Surrealists; Breton, Yves Tanguy, Georges Hugnet, Marcel Jean and Max Ernst immediately started experimenting with it. In 1936, Breton dedicated a short essay to the technique, which had the merit of allowing access to ‘ideal fields of interpretation’ (A. Breton, ‘Óscar Domínguez: Concerning a decalcomania without preconceived object (decalcomania of desire) (1936)’, in Surrealism and Painting, London, 1972, p. 129). On his part, in the late 1930s, Domínguez started to incorporate in his paintings the visual effects of decalcomania, in a series of suggestive works, which he named ‘cosmic landscapes’. In its ridged figures, Madamme seems to have been inspired by the effects of decalcomania, while foreseeing certain characteristics of Domínguez’s cosmic landscapes for its merging of rocks, figures and sky. Following what Breton celebrated as Domínguez’s ‘most electrifying’ invention and dating from a period of intense involvement with Surrealism, Madamme is a significant expression of the artist’s unique Tenerife-born Surreal universe.

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